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' JV 





THE SECRET 
OF THE TOWER 



. OP CALIF. LIBRARY, LOS ANGELS* 



THE SECRET 
OF THE TOWER 



BY I 

ANTHONY HOPE t"S ^ i 

AUTHOR " " THE PRISONER OF ZBNDA." " BUPEKT OF HENTZATJ." ETC. 




D. APPLETON AND COMPANY 

NEW YORK 1919 



COPYRIGHT, 1919, BY 

ANTHONY HOPE HAWKINS 



PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 



CONTENTS 

FAGX 

I. DOCTOB MABY'S PAYING GUEST 1 

n. THE GENFBAL REMEMBERS 16 

III. MB. SAFFBON AT HOME 38 

IV. PBOFESSIONAL ETIQUETTE 48 

V. A FAMILJAB IMPLEMENT 65 

VI. ODD STOBT OF CAPTAIN DUGGLE! ...... 81 

VII. A GENTLEMANLY STBANGEB 99 

VIII. CAPTAIN ALEC RAISES HIS VOICE .... 117 
rf 

IX. DOCTOB MABY'S ULTIMATUM 134 

X. THAT MAGICAL WOBD MOBOCCO! . . . . 154 

XI. THE CAB BEHIND THE TBEES 173 

XII. THE SECRET OF THE TOWEB 189 

XIII. RIGHT OF CONQUEST 204 

XIV. THE SCEPTEB IN THE GBAVE 223 

XV. A NOBMAL CASE 240 

XVI. DEAD MAJESTY 258 

XVII. THE CHIEF MOUBNEBS 275 

XVIII. THE GOLD AND THE TBEASUBE 292 



2130270 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 



CHAPTER I 

DOCTOR MARY'S PAYING GUEST 

"JusT in time, wasn't it?" asked Mary Ark- 
royd. 

"Two days before the the ceremony 1 Merci- 
fully it had all been kept very quiet, because it 
was only three months since poor Gilly was 
killed. I forget whether you ever met Gilly? 
My half-brother, you know?" 

"Only once in Collingham Gardens. He 
had an exeat, and dashed in one Saturday morn- 
ing when we were just finishing our work. 
Don't you remember?" 

"Yes, I think I do. But since my engage- 
ment I'd gone into colors. Oh, of course I've 
gone back into mourning now 1 And everything 

1 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

was ready settlements and so on, you know. 
And rooms taken at Bournemouth. And then 
it all came out!" 

"How?" 

"Well, Eustace Captain Cranster, I mean. 
Oh, I think he really must have had shell-shock, 
as he said, even though the doctor seemed to 
doubt it I He gave the Colonel as a reference in 
some shop, and and the bank wouldn't pay the 
check. Other checks turned up, too, and in the 
end the police went through his papers, and 
found letters from well, from her, you know. 
From Bogota. South America, isn't it? He'd 
lived there ten years, you know, growing some- 
thing beans, or coffee, or coffee-beans, or 
something I don't know what. He tried to 
say the marriage wasn't binding, but the Colonel 
wasn't it providential that the Colonel was 
home on leave? Mamma could never have grap- 
pled with it! The Colonel was sure it was, and 
so were the lawyers." 

"What happened then?" 

"The great thing was to keep it quiet. Now, 



DOCTOR MARY'S PAYING GUEST 

wasn't it? And there was the shell-shock or 
so Eustace Captain Cranster, I mean said, 
anyhow. So, on the Colonel's advice, Mamma 
squared the check business and and they gave 
him twenty-four hours to clear out. Papa I 
call the Colonel Papa, you know, though he's 
really my stepfather used a little influence, I 
think. Anyhow it was managed. I never saw 
him again, Mary." 

"Poor dear! Was it very bad?" 

"Yes! But suppose we had been married! 
Mary, where should I have been?" 

Mary Arkroyd left that problem alone. 
"Were you very fond of him?" she asked. 

"Awfully!" Cynthia turned up to her friend 
pretty blue eyes suffused in tears. "It was the 
end of the world to me. That there could be 
such men! I went to bed. Mamma could do 
nothing with me. Oh, well, she wrote to you 
about all that." 

"She told me you were in a pretty bad way." 

"I was just desperate! Then one day in 
bed the thought of you came. It seemed an 

8 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

absolute inspiration. I remembered the card 
you sent on my last birthday you've never for- 
gotten my birthdays, though it's years since we 
met with your new address here and your 
'Doctor,' and all the letters after your name! I 
thought it rather funny." A faint smile, the first 
since Miss Walford's arrival at Inkston, prob- 
ably the first since Captain Eustace Cranster's 
shell-shock had wrought catastrophe appeared 
on her lips. "How I waited for your answer! 
You don't mind having me, do you, dear? 
Mamma insisted on suggesting the P.G. ar- 
rangement. I was afraid you'd shy at it." 

"Not a bit! I should have liked to have you 
anyhow, but I can make you much more com- 
fortable with the P.G. money. And your maid 
too she looks as if she was accustomed to the 
best! By the way, need she be quite so tearful? 
She's more tearful than you are yourself." 

"Jeanne's very, very fond of me," Cynthia 
murmured reproachfully. 

"Oh, we'll get her out of that," said Mary 
briskly. "The tears, I mean, not the fondness. 

4 



DOCTOR MARY'S PAYING GUEST 

I'm very fond of you myself. Six years ago 
you were a charming kitten, and I used to enjoy 
being your Visiting governess' to say nothing 
of finding the guineas very handy while I was 
waiting to qualify. You're rather like a kitten 
still, one of those blue-eyed ones Siamese, 
aren't they? with close fur and a wondering 
look. But you mustn't mew down here, and 
you must have lots of milk and cream. Even 
if rations go on, I can certify all the extras 
for you. That's the good of being a doctor!" 
She laughed cheerfully as she took a cigarette 
from the mantelpiece and lit it. 

Cynthia, on the other hand, began to sob 
prettily and not in a noisy fashion, yet evidently 
heading towards a bout of grief. Moreover, no 
sooner had the first sound of lamentation es- 
caped from her lips, than the door was opened 
smartly and a buxom girl, in lady's maid uni- 
form, rushed in, darted across the room, and 
knelt by Cynthia, sobbing also and exclaiming, 
"Oh, my poor Mees Cynthia!" 

Mary smiled in a humorous contempt. 

5 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

animations she had a high opinion of her own 
common sense and her power of guiding weaker 
mortals. 

For all that Jeanne's cheek bulged with a 
chocolate, there was open resentment on her 
full, pouting lips, and a hint of the same feeling 
in Cynthia's still liquid eyes, when mistress and 
maid came downstairs again. Without heeding 
these signs, Mary drew on her gauntlets, took 
her walking-stick, and fiung the hall door open. 
A rush of cold wind filled the little hall. Jeanne 
shivered ostentatiously; Cynthia sighed and 
muffled herself deeper in her fur collar. "A 
good walking day!" said Mary decisively. 

Up to now, Inkston had not impressed Cyn- 
thia Walford very favorably. It was indeed a 
mixed kind of a place. "Like many villages 
which lie near to London and have been made, 
by modern developments, more accessible than 
once they were, it showed chronological strata In 
its buildings. Down by the station all was new, 
red, suburban. Mounting the tarred road, the 
wayfarer bore slightly to the right along the 

8 



DOCTOR MARY'S PAYING GUEST 

original village street; bating the aggressive 
"fronts" of one or two commercial innovators, 
this was old, calm, serene, gray in tone and 
restful, ornamented by three or four good class 
Georgian houses, one quite fine, with well 
wrought iron gates (this was Dr. Irechester's) ; 
turning to the right again, but more sharply, the 
wayfarer found himself once more in villadom, 
but a villadom more ornate, more costly, with 
gardens to be measured in acres or nearly. 
This was Hinton Avenue (Hinton because it 
was the maiden name of the builder's wife; 
Avenue because avenue is genteel) . Here Mary 
dwelt, but by good luck her predecessor, Dr. 
Christian Evans, had seized upon a surviving 
old cottage at the end of the avenue, and, indeed, 
of Inkston village itself. Beyond it stretched 
meadows, while the road, turning again, ran 
across an open heath, and .pursued its way to 
Sprotsfield, four miles distant, a place of greater 
size where all amenities could be found. 

It was along this road that the friends now 
walked, Mary setting a brisk pace. "When 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

once you've turned your back on the Avenue, it's 
heaps better," she said. "Might be real country, 
looking this way, mightn't it? Except the Nay- 
lors' place Oh, and Tower Cottage there are 
no houses between this and Sprotsfield." 

The wind blew shrewdly, with an occasional 
spatter of rain ; the withered bracken lay like a 
vast carpet of dull copper-color under the cloudy 
sky; scattered fir-trees made fantastic shapes in 
the early gloom of a December day. A somber 
scene, yet wanting only sunshine to make it 
flash in a richness of color; even to-day its quiet 
and spaciousness, its melancholy and monotony, 
seemed to bid a sympathetic and soothing wel- 
come to aching and fretted hearts. 

"It really is rather nice out here," Cynthia 
admitted. 

"I come almost every afternoon. Oh, I've 
plenty of time ! My round in the morning gen- 
erally sees me through except for emergencies, 
births and deaths, and so on. You see, my pre- 
decessor, poor Christian Evans, never had more 
than the leavings, and that's all I've got. I 

10 



DOCTOE MARY'S PAYING GUEST 

believe the real doctor, the old-established one, 
Dr. Irechester, was angry at first with Dr. 
Evans for coming; he didn't want a rival. But 
Christian was such a meek, mild, simple little 
Welshman, not the least pushing or ambitious; 
and very soon Dr. Irechester, who's quite well 
off, was glad to leave him the dirty work, I mean 
(she explained, smiling) the cottages, and the 
panel work, National Insurance, you know, and 
so on. Well, as you know, I came down as 
locum for Christian, he was a fellow-student of 
mine, and when the dear little man was killed 
in France, Dr. Irechester himself suggested that 
I should stay on. He was rather nice. He 
said, 'We all started to laugh at you, at first, 
but we don't laugh now, anyhow, only my wife 
does ! So, if you stay on, I don't doubt we shall 
work very well together, my dear colleague.' 
Wasn't that rather nice of him, Cynthia?" 

"Yes, dear," said Cynthia, in a voice that 
sounded a good many miles away. 

Mary laughed. "I'm bound to be interested 
in you, but I suppose you're not bound to be 

11 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

interested in me," she observed resignedly. "All 
the same, I made a sensation at Inkston just at 
first. And they were even more astonished when 
it turned out that I could dance and play lawn 
tennis." 

"That's a funny little place," said Cynthia, 
pointing to the left side of the road. 

"Tower Cottage, that's called." 

"But what a funny place!" Cynthia insisted. 
"A round tower, like a Martello tower, only 
smaller, of course; and what looks just like an 
ordinary cottage or small farm-house joined on 
to it. What could the tower have been for?" 

"I'm sure I don't know. Origin lost in the 
mists of antiquity! An old gentleman named 
Saffron lives there now." 

"A patient of yours, Mary?" 

"Oh, no! He's well off, rich, I believe. So 
he belongs to Dr. Irechester. But I often meet 
him along the road. Lately there's always been 
a younger man with him, a companion, or secre- 
tary, or something of that sort, I hear he is." 

12 



DOCTOR MARY'S PAYING GUEST 

"There are two men coming along the road 
now." 

"Yes, that's them, the old man, and his friend. 
He's rather striking to look at." 

"Which of them?" 

"The old man, of course. I haven't looked at 
the secretary. Cynthia, I believe you're begin- 
ning to feel a little better!" 

"Oh, no, I'm not! I'm afraid I'm not, 
really I" But there had been a cheerfully roguish 
little smile on her face. It vanished very 
promptly when observed. 

The two men approached them, on their way, 
no doubt, to Tower Cottage. The old man was 
not above middle height, indeed, scarcely reached 
it; but he made the most of his inches carrying 
himself very upright, with an air of high dignity. 
Close-cut white hair showed under an old- 
fashioned peaked cap; he wore a plaid shawl 
swathed round him, his left arm being enveloped 
in its folds; his right rested in the arm of his 
companion, who was taller than he, lean and 
loose-built, clad in an almost white (and very; 

13 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

unseasonable looking) suit of some homespun 
material. He wore no covering on his head, a 
thick crop of curly hair (of a color indistinguish- 
able in the dim light) presumably affording such 
protection as he needed. His face was turned 
down towards the old man, who was looking up 
at him and apparently talking to him, though 
in so low a tone that no sound reached Mary 
and Cynthia as they passed by. Neither man 
gave any sign of noticing their presence. 

"Mr. Saffron, you said? Rather a queer name, 
but he looks a nice old man; patriarchal, you 
know. What's the name of the other one?" 

"I did hear; somebody mentioned him at the 
Naylors' somebody who had heard something 
about him in France. What was the name? It 
was something queer too, I think." 

"They've got queer names, and they live in 
a queer house!" Cynthia actually gave a little 
laugh. "But are you going to walk all night, 
Mary dear?" 

"Oh, poor thing! I forgot you! You're 
tired? We'll turn back." 

14 



DOCTOR MARY'S PAYING GUEST 

They retraced their steps, again passing 
Tower Cottage, into which its occupants must 
have gone, for they were no longer to be seen. 

"That name's on the tip of my tongue," said 
Mary in amused vexation. "I shall get it in a 
moment !" 

. Cynthia had relapsed into gloom. "It doesn't 
matter in the least," she murmured. 

"It's Beaumaroy!" said Mary in triumph. 

"I don't wonder you couldn't remember that 1" 



CHAPTER II 

THE GENERAL REMEMBERS 

AMONGST other various, and no doubt useful, 
functions, Miss Delia Wall performed that of 
gossip and news agent-general to the village of 
Inkston. A hard-featured, swarthy spinster of 
forty, with a roving, inquisitive, yet not un- 
kindly eye, she perambulated or rather per- 
cycled the district, taking stock of every in- 
cident. Not a cat could kitten or a dog have 
the mange without her privity; critics of her 
mental activity went near to insinuating con- 
nivance. Naturally, therefore, she was well 
acquainted with the new development at Tower 
Cottage, although the isolated position of that 
dwelling made thorough observation piquantly 
difficult. She laid her information before an 
attentive, if not very respectful, audience gath- 
ered round the tea-table at Old Place, the 

16 



THE GENERAL REMEMBERS 



Naylors' handsome house on the outskirts of 
Sprotsfield and on the far side of the heath from 
Inkston. She was enjoying herself, although 
she was, as usual, a trifle distrustful of the quality 
of Mr. Naylor's smile; it smacked of the satiric. 
"He looks at you as if you were a specimen," 
she had once been heard to complain; and, when 
she said "specimen," it was obviously beetles that 
she had in mind. 

"Everybody knows old Mr. Saffron by sight, 
I mean and the woman who does for him," she 
said. "There's never been anything remarkable 
about them. He took his walk as regular as 
clockwork every afternoon, and she bought just 
the same things every week ; her books must have 
tallied almost to a penny every month, Mrs. 
Naylor! I know it! And it was a very rare 
thing indeed for Mr. Saffron to go to London 
though I have known him to be away once or 
twice. But very, very rarely I" She paused and 
added dramatically, "Until the armistice!" 

"Full of ramifications, that event, Miss Wall. 
It affects even my business." Mr. Naylor, 

17 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

though now withdrawn from an active share in 
its conduct, was still interested in the large ship- 
ping firm from which he had drawn his com- 
fortable fortune. 

She looked at him suspiciously, as he put the 
ends of the slender white fingers of his two 
hands together, and leant forward to listen with 
that smile of his and eyes faintly twinkling. But 
the problem was seething in her brain; she had 
to go on. 

"A week after the armistice Mr. Saffron went 
to London by the 9.50. He traveled first, 
Anna." 

"Did he, dear?" Mrs. Naylor, a stout and 
placid dame, was not yet stirred to excitement. 

"He came down by the 4.11, and those two 
men with him. And they've been there ever 
since!" 

"Two men, Delia! I've only seen one." 

"Oh yes, there's another! Sergeant Hooper 
they call him; a short thickset man with a black 
mustache. He buys two bottles of rum every 

18 



THE GENERAL REMEMBERS 



week at the Green Man. And one minute, 
please, Mr. Naylor " 

"I was only going to say that it looks to me 
as if this man Hooper were, or had been, a 
soldier. What do you think?" 

"Never mind, Papa! Go on, Miss Wall. I'm 
interested." This encouragement came from 
Gertie Naylor, a pretty girl of seventeen who 
was consuming much tea, bread, and honey. 

"And since then the old gentleman and this 
Mr. Beaumaroy go to town regularly every 
week on Wednesdays! Now who are they, how 
did Mr. Saffron get hold of them, and what are 
they doing here? I'm at a loss, Anna." 

Apparently an impasse! And Mr. Naylor did 
not seem to assist matters by asking whether 
Miss Wall had kept a constant eye on the 
Agony Column. Mrs. Naylor took up her knit- 
ting and switched off to another topic. 

"Dr. Arkroyd's friend, Delia dear! What a 
charming girl she looks!" 

"Friend, Anna? I didn't know thatl A 
patient, I understand, anyhow. She's taking 

19 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

though now withdrawn from an active share in 
its conduct, was still interested in the large ship- 
ping firm from which he had drawn his com- 
fortable fortune. 

She looked at him suspiciously, as he put the 
ends of the slender white fingers of his two 
hands together, and leant forward to listen with 
that smile of his and eyes faintly twinkling. But 
the problem was seething in her brain; she had 
to go on. 

"A week after the armistice Mr. Saffron went 
to London by the 9.50. He traveled first, 
Anna." 

"Did he, dear?" Mrs. Naylor, a stout and 
placid dame, was not yet stirred to excitement. 

"He came down by the 4.11, and those two 
men with him. And they've been there ever 
since!" 

"Two men, Delia! I've only seen one." 

"Oh yes, there's another! Sergeant Hooper 
they call him; a short thickset man with a black 
mustache. He buys two bottles of rum every 

IS 



THE GENERAL REMEMBERS 



week at the Green Man. And one minute, 
please, Mr. Naylor " 

"I was only going to say that it looks to me 
as if this man Hooper were, or had been, a 
soldier. What do you think?" 

"Never mind, Papa! Go on, Miss Wall. I'm 
interested." This encouragement came from 
Gertie Naylor, a pretty girl of seventeen who 
was consuming much tea, bread, and honey. 

"And since then the old gentleman and this 
Mr. Beaumaroy go to town regularly every 
week on Wednesdays! Now who are they, how 
did Mr. Saffron get hold of them, and what are 
they doing here? I'm at a loss, Anna." 

Apparently an impasse! And Mr. Naylor did 
not seem to assist matters by asking whether 
Miss Wall had kept a constant eye on the 
Agony Column. Mrs. Naylor took up her knit- 
ting and switched off to another topic. 

"Dr. Arkroyd's friend, Delia dear! What a 
charming girl she looks!" 

"Friend, Anna? I didn't know that! A 
patient, I understand, anyhow. She's taking 

19 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

Valentine's beef juice. Of course they do give 
that in drink cases, but I should be sorry to 
think " 

"Drugs, more likely," Mr. Naylor suavely 
interposed. Then he rose from his chair and 
began to pace slowly up and down the long 
room, looking at his beautiful pictures, his 
beautiful china, his beautiful chairs, all the 
beautiful things that were his. His family took 
no notice of this roving up and down; it was a 
habit, and was tacitly accepted as meaning that 
he had, for the moment, had enough of the com- 
pany, and even of his own sallies at its expense. 

"I've asked Dr. Arkroyd to bring her over, 
Miss Walford, I mean, the first day it's fine 
enough for tennis," Mrs. Naylor pursued. There 
was a hard court at Old Place, so that winter 
did not stop the game entirely. 

"What a name, too!" 

"Walford? It's quite a good name, Delia." 

"No, no, Anna! Beaumaroy, of course." 
Miss Wall was back at the larger problem. 

"There's Alec's voice. He and the General 
20 



THE GENERAL REMEMBERS 



are back from their golf. Ring for another tea- 
pot, Gertie dear!" 

The door opened, not Alec, but the General 
came in, and closed the door carefuly behind 
him; it was obviously an act of precaution and 
not merely a normal exercise of good manners. 
Then he walked up to his hostess and said, "It's 
not my fault, Anna. Alec would do it, though 
I shook my head at him, behind the fellow's 
back." 

"What do you mean, General?" cried the 
hostess. Mr. Naylor, for his part, stopped 
roving. 

The door again 1 "Come in, Mr. Beaumaroy 
here's tea." 

Mr. Beaumaroy obediently entered, in the 
wake of Captain Alec Naylor, who duly pre- 
sented him to Mrs. Naylor, adding that Beau- 
maroy had been kind enough to make the fourth 
in a game with the General, the Rector of 
Sprotsfield, and himself. "And he and the 
parson were too tough a nut for us, weren't they, 
sir?" he added to the General. 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

Besides being an excellent officer and a capital 
fellow, Alec Naylor was also reputed to be one 
of the handsomest men in the Service; six foot 
three, very straight, very fair, with features as 
regular as any romantic hero of them all, and 
eyes as blue. The honorable limp that at present 
marked his movements would, it was hoped, pass 
away. Even his own family were often surprised 
into a new admiration of his physical perfec- 
tions, remarking, one to the other, how Alec took 
the shine out of every other man in the room. 

There was no shine, no external obvious shine, 
to take out of Mr. Beaumaroy, Miss Wall's 
puzzling, unaccounted-for Mr. Beaumaroy. The 
light showed him now more clearly than when 
Mary Arkroyd met him on the heath road, but 
perhaps thereby did him no service. His fea- 
tures, though irregular, were not ugly or insig- 
nificant, but he wore a rather battered aspect; 
there were deep lines running from the corners 
of his mouth, and crowsfeet had started under 
the gray eyes which, in their turn, looked more 
skeptical than ardent, rather mocking than 

22 



THE GENERAL REMEMBERS 



eager. Yet when he smiled, his face became not 
merely pleasant, but confidentially pleasant; he 
seemed to smile especially to and for the person 
to whom he was talking; and his voice was not- 
ably agreeable, soft and clear the voice of a 
high-bred man, but not exactly of a high-bred 
Englishman. There was no accent definite 
enough to be called foreign, certainly not to be 
assigned to any particular race, but there was 
an exotic touch about his manner of speech sug- 
gesting that, even if not that of a foreigner, it 
was shaped and colored by the inflexions of 
foreign tongues. The hue of his plentiful and 
curly hair, indistinguishable to Mary and Cyn- 
thia, now stood revealed as neither black, nor 
red, nor auburn, nor brown, nor golden, but just, 
and rather surprisingly, a plain yellow, the color 
of a cowslip or thereabouts. Altogether rather 
a rum-looking fellow! This had been Alec 
Naylor's first remark when the Rector of Sprots- 
field pointed him out, as a possible fourth, at 
the golf club, and the rough justice of the de- 
scription could not be denied. He, like Alec, 

23 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

'bore his scars; the little finger of his right hand 
was amputated down to the knuckle. 

Yet, after all this description, in particularity 
if not otherwise worthy of a classic novelist, the 
thing yet remains that most struck observers. 
Mr. Hector Beaumaroy had an adorable candor 
of manner. He answered questions with inno- 
cent readiness and pellucid sincerity. It would 
be impossible to think him guilty of a lie; un- 
generous to suspect so much as a suppression 
of the truth. Even Mr. Naylor, hardened by 
five-and-thirty years' experience of what sailors 
will blandly swear to in collision cases, was 
struck with the open candor of his bearing. 

"Yes," he said. "Yes, Miss Wall, that's right, 
we go to town every Wednesday. No particu- 
lar reason why it should be Wednesday, but old 
gentlemen somehow do better don't you think 
so? with method and regular habits." 

"I'm sure you know what's best for Mr. 
Saffron," said Delia. "You've known him a long 
time, haven't you?" 

Mr. Naylor drew a little nearer and listened. 
24 



THE GENERAL REMEMBERS 



The General had put himself into the corner, 
a remote corner of the room, and sat there with 
an uneasy and rather glowering aspect. 

"Oh no, no!" answered Beaumaroy. "A mat- 
ter of weeks only. But the dear old fellow 
seemed to take to me a friend put us in touch 
originally. I seem to be able to do just what 
he want! ." 

"I hope your friend is not really ill, not seri- 
ously?" This time the question was Mrs. Nay- 
lor's, not Miss Delia's. 

"His health is really not so bad, but," he 
gave a glance round the company, as though 
inviting their understanding, "he insists that he's 
not the man he was." 

"Absurd!" smiled Naylor. "Not much older 
than I am, is he?" 

"Only just turned seventy, I believe. But 
the idea's very persistent." 

"Hypochondria!" snapped Miss Delia. 

"Not altogether. I'm afraid there is a little 

real heart trouble. Dr. Irechester " 

25 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

"Oh, with Dr. Irechester, dear Mr. Beau- 
maroy, you're all right 1" 

Again Beaumaroy's glance that glance of 
innocent appeal ranged over the company (ex- 
cept the General, out of its reach) . He seemed 
troubled and embarrassed. 

"A most accomplished man, evidently, and a 
friend of yours, of course. But, well, there it is, 
a mere fancy, of course, but unhappily my old 
friend doesn't take to him. He, he thinks that 
he's rather inquisitorial. A doctor's duty, I sup- 
pose " 

"Irechester's a sound man, a very sound man," 
said Mr. Naylor. "And, after all one can ask 
almost any question if one does it tactfully, can't 
one, Miss Wall?" 

"As a matter of fact, he's only seen Mr. 
Saffron twice he had a little chill. But his 
manner, unfortunately, rather, er alarmed " 

Gertie Naylor, with the directness of youth, 
propounded a solution of the difficulty. "If you 
don't like Dr. Irechester " 

"Oh, it's not I who " 

26 



THE GENERAL REMEMBERS 



"Why not have Mary?" Gertie made her 
suggestion eagerly. She was very fond of Mary, 
who, from the height of age, wisdom and pro- 
fessional dignity, had stooped to offer her an 
equal friendship. 

"She means Dr. Mary Arkroyd," Mrs Naylor 
explained. 

"Yes, I know, Mrs. Naylor, I know about 
Dr. Arkroyd. In fact, I know her by sight. 
But " 

"Perhaps you don't believe in women doc- 
tors?" Alec suggested. 

"It's not that. I've no prejudices. But the 
responsibility is on me, and I know very little 
of her; and, well to change one's doctor, it's 
rather invidious " 

"Oh, as to that, Irechester's a sensible man; 
he's got as much work as he wants, and as much 
money too. He won't resent an old man's 
fancy." 

"Well, I'd never thought of a change, but if 

you all suggest it " Somehow it did seem as 

if they all, and not merely youthful Gertie had 

27 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

suggested it. "But I should rather like to know 
Dr. Arkroyd first." 

"Come and meet her here; that's very simple. 
She often comes to tennis and tea. We'll let 
you know the first time she's coming." 

Beaumaroy most cordially accepted the idea 
and the invitation. "Any afternoon I shall be 
delighted, except Wednesdays. Wednesdays are 
sacred, aren't they, Miss Wall? London on 
Wednesdays for Mr. Saffron and me, and the 
old brown bag!" He laughed in a quiet merri- 
ment. "That old bag's been in a lot of places 
with me and has carried some queer cargoes. 
Now it just goes to and fro, between here and 
town, with Mudie books. Must have books, liv- 
ing so much alone as we do!" "He had risen as 
he spoke, and approached Mrs. Naylor to take 
leave. 

She gave him her hand very cordially. "I 
don't suppose Mr. Saffron cares to meet people; 
but any spare time you have, Mr. Beaumaroy, 
we shall be delighted to see you." 

Beaumaroy bowed as he thanked her, adding, 
28 



THE GENERAL REMEMBERS 



"And I'm promised a chance of meeting Dr. 
Arkroyd before long?" 

The promise was renewed and the visitor took 
his leave, declining Alec's offer to "run him 
home" in the car. "The car might startle my 
old friend," he pleaded. Alec saw him off, and 
returned to find the General, who had contrived 
to avoid more than a distant bow of farewell to 
Beaumaroy, standing on the hearthrug ap- 
parently in a state of some agitation. 

The envious years had refused to Major- 
General Punnit, C.B. he was a distant cousin 
of Mrs. Naylor's the privilege of serving his 
country in the Great War. His career had lain 
mainly in India and was mostly behind him even 
at the date of the South African War, in which, 
however, he had done valuable work in one of 
the supply services. He was short, stout, 
honest, brave, shrewd, obstinate, and as full of 
prejudices, religious, political and personal as 
an egg is of meat. And all this time he had 
been slowly and painfully recalling what his 
young friend Colonel Merman (the Colonel was 

29 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

young only relatively to the General) had told 
him about Hector Beaumaroy. The name had 
struck on his memory the moment the Rector 
pronounced it, but it had taken him a long while 
to "place it" accurately. However, now he had 
it pat; the conversation in the club came back. 
He retailed it now to the company at Old Place. 
A pleasant fellow, Beaumaroy; socially a 
very agreeable fellow. And as for courage, 
as brave as you like. Indeed he might have 
had letters after his name save for the fact 
that he the Colonel would never recommend 
a man unless his discipline was as good as his 
leading, and his conduct at the base as praise- 
worthy as at the front. (Alec Nay lor nodded 
his handsome head in grave approval; his father 
looked a little discontented, as though he were 
swallowing unpalatable, though wholesome, 
food) . His whole idea Beaumaroy 's, that is 
was to shield offenders, to prevent the punish- 
ment fitting the crime, even to console and 
countenance the wrongdoer. No sense of disci- 
pline, no moral sense, the Colonel had gone as 

30 



THE GENERAL REMEMBERS 



far as that. Impossible to promote or to recom- 
mend for reward, almost impossible to keep. 
Of course, if he had been caught young and 
put through the mill, it might have been dif- 
ferent. "It might" the Colonel heavily under- 
lined the possibility, but he came from Heaven 
knew where, after a life spent Heaven knew 
how. "And he seemed to know it himself," the 
Colonel had said, thoughtfully rolling his port 
round in the glass. "Whenever I wigged him, 
he offered to go; said he'd chuck his commission 
and enlist; said he'd be happier in the ranks. 
But I was weak, I couldn't bear to do it." After 
thus quoting his friend, the General added : "He 
was weak, damned weak, and I told him so." 

"Of course he ought to have got rid of him," 
said Alec. "Still, sir, there's nothing, er, dis- 
graceful." 

"It seems hardly to have come to that," the 
General admitted reluctantly. 

"It all rather makes me like him," Gertie 
affirmed courageously. 

"I think that, on the whole, we may venture 
31 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

to know him in times of peace," Mr. Naylor 
summed up. 

"That's your look out," remarked the General. 
"I've warned you. You can do as you like." 

Delia Wall had sat silent through the story. 
Now she spoke up, and got back to the real 
point : 

"There's nothing in all that to show how he 
comes to be at Mr. Saffron's." 

The General shrugged his shoulders. "Oh, 
Saffron be hanged ! He's not the British Army," 
he said. 



CHAPTER III 

MR. SAFFRON AT HOME 

To put it plainly, Sergeant Hooper he had 
been a Sergeant for a brief and precarious three 
weeks, but he used the title in civil life when- 
ever he safely could, and he could at Inkston 
Sergeant Hooper was a villainous-looking dog. 
Beaumaroy, fresh from the comely presences of 
Old Place, unconscious of how the General had 
ripped up his character and record, pleasantly 
nursing a little project concerning Dr. Mary 
Arkroyd, had never been more forcibly struck 
with his protege's ill-favoredness than when he 
arrived home on this same evening, and the Ser- 
geant met him at the door. 

"By gad, Sergeant," he observed pleasantly, 
"I don't think anybody could be such a rascal 
as you look. It's that faith that carries me 
through." 

33 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

The Sergeant helped him off with his coat. 
"It's some people's stock-in-trade," he remarked, 
"not to look a rascal like they really are, sir." 
The "sir" stuck out of pure habit; it carried no 
real implication of respect. 

"Meaning me 1" laughed Beaumaroy. "How's 
the old man to-night?" 

"Quiet enough. He's in the Tower there 
been there an hour or more." 

The cottage door opened on to a narrow pas- 
sage, with a staircase on one side, and on the 
other a door leading to a small square parlor, 
cheerfully if cheaply furnished, and well lit by 
an oil lamp. A fire blazed on the hearth, and 
Beaumaroy sank into a "saddle-bag" armchair 
beside it, with a sigh of comfort. The Sergeant 
had jerked his head towards another door, on 
the right of the fireplace; it led to the Tower. 
Beaumaroy's eyes settled on it. 

"An hour or more, has he? Have you heard 
anything?" 

"He was making a speech a little while back, 
that's all." 

34 



MR. SAFFRON AT HOME 



"No more complaints and palpitations, or 
anything of that sort?" 

"Not as I've heard. But he never says much 
to me. Mrs. Wiles gets the benefit of his symp- 
toms mostly." 

"You're not sympathetic, perhaps." 

During the talk Hooper had been to a cup- 
board and mixed a glass of whisky and soda. 
He brought it to Beaumaroy and put it on a 
small table by him. Beaumaroy regarded his 
squat paunchy figure, red face, small eyes (a 
squint in one of them), and bulbous nose with 
a patient and benign toleration. 

"Since you can't expect, Sergeant, to pre- 
possess the judge and jury in your favor, the 
instant you make your appearance in the 
box " 

"Here, what are you on to, sir?" 

"It's the more important for you to have it 
clearly in your mind that we are laboring in the 
cause of humanity, freedom, and justice. 
Exactly like the Allies in the late war, you know, 
Sergeant. Keep that in your mind, clinch it! 

35 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

He hasn't wanted you to do anything particular 
to-night, or asked for me?" 

"No, sir. He's happy with with what you 
call his playthings." 

"What are they but playthings?" asked 
Beaumaroy, tilting his glass to his lips with a 
smile perhaps a little wry. 

"Only I wish as you wouldn't talk about 
judges and juries," the Sergeant complained. 

"I really don't know whether it's a civil or a 
criminal matter, or both, or neither," Beaumaroy 
admitted candidly. "But what we do know, 
Sergeant, is that it provides us with excellent 
billets and rations. Moreover, a thing that you 
certainly will not appreciate, it gratifies my taste 
for the mysterious." 

"I hope there's a bit more coming from it 
than that," said the Sergeant. "That is, if we 
stick together faithful, sir." 

"Oh, we shall! One thing puzzles me about 
you, Sergeant. I don't think I've mentioned 
it before. Sometimes you speak almost like an 

36 



MR. SAFFRON AT HOME 



educated man; at others your speecfi is, well, 
illiterate." 

"Well, sir, it's a sort of mixture of my mother ; 
she was class, the blighter who come after my 
father, and the Board School " 

''Of course! What they call the educational 
ladder! That explains it. By the way, I'm 
thinking of changing our doctor." 

"Good job, too. I 'ate that Irechester. Stares 
at you, that chap does." 

"Does he stare at your eyes?'" asked Beau- 
maroy thoughtfully. 

"I don't know that he does at my eyes par- 
ticularly. Nothing wrong with 'em, is there?" 
The Sergeant sounded rather truculent. 

"Never mind that; but I fancied he stared at 
Mr. Saffron's. And I've read somewhere, in 
some book or other, that doctors can tell, or 
guess, by the eyes. Well, that's only an idea. 
How does a lady doctor appeal to you, Ser- 
geant?" 

"I should be shy," said the Sergeant, grinning. 

"Vulgar! vulgar!" Beaumaroy murmured. 
37 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

"That Dr. Mary Arkroyd?" 

"I had thought of her." 

"She ought to be fair easy to kid. You 'ave 
notions sometimes, sir." 

Beaumaroy stretched out his legs, debonnair, 
well-rounded legs, to the seducing blaze of oak 
logs. 

"I haven't really a care in the world," he said. 

The Sergeant's reply, or comment, had a dis- 
concerting ring. "And you're sure of 'Eaven? 
That's what the bloke always says to the 'ang- 
man." 

"I've no intention of being a murderer, Ser- 
geant." Beaumaroy's eyebrows were raised in 
gentle protest. 

"Once you're in with a job, you never know," 
his retainer observed darkly. 

Beaumaroy laughed. "OK, go to the devil! 
and mix me another whisky." Yet a vague un- 
easiness showed itself on his face; he looked 
across the room at the evil-shaped man handling 
the bottles in the cupboard. He made one 
queer, restless movement of his arms, as though 

38 



MR. SAFFRON AT HOME 



to free himself. Then, in a moment, he sprang 
from his chair, a glad kindly smile illuminating 
his face; he bowed in a very courtly fashion, 
exclaiming, "Ah! here you are, sir? And all 
well, I hope?" 

Mr. Saffron had entered from the door lead- 
ing to the Tower, carefully closing it after himv 
Hooper's hand went up to his forehead in the 
ghost of a military salute, but a sneering smile 
persisted on his lips. The only notice Mr. 
Saffron took of him was a jerk of the head 
towards the passage, an abrupt and ungracious 
dismissal, which, however, the Sergeant silently 
accepted and stumped out. The greeting re- 
served for Beaumaroy was yastly different. 
Beaumaroy's own cordiality was more than re- 
ciprocated. It seemed impossible to doubt that 
a genuine affection existed between the elder 
and the younger man, though the latter had not 
thought fit to mention the fact to Sergeant 
Hooper. 

"A tiring day, my dear Hector, very tiring. 
I've transacted a lot of business. But never 

39 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

mind that, it will keep. What of your doings?" 
Having sat the old man in the big chair by 
the fire, Beaumaroy sauntered across to the door 
of the Tower, locked it, and put the key in his 
pocket. Then he returned to the fire and, 
standing in front of it, gave a lively and detailed 
account of his visit to Old Place. 

"They appear to be pleasant people, very 
pleasant. I should like to know them, if it was 
not desirable for me to live an entirely secluded 
life." Mr. Saffron's speech was very distinct 
and clean cut, rather rapid, high in tone but not 
disagreeable. "You make pure fun of this Miss 
Wall, as you do of so many things, Hector, 
but " he smiled up at Beaumaroy "inquisi- 
tiveness is not our favorite sin just now!" 

"She's so indiscriminately inquisitive that it's 
a thousand to one against her really finding out 
anything of importance, sir." Beaumaroy 
sometimes addressed his employer as "Mr. Saf- 
fron," hut much more commonly he used the 
respectful "sir." "I think I'm equal to putting 
Miss Delia Wall off." 

40 



MR. SAFFRON AT HOME 



"Still she noticed our weekly journeys!" 

"Half Inkston goes to town every day, sir, 
and the rest three times, twice, or once a week. 
I called her particular attention to the bag, and 
told her it was for books from Mudie's!" 

"Positive statements like that are a mistake." 
Mr. Saffron spoke with a sudden sharpness, in 
pointed rebuke. "If I form a right idea of that 
woman, she's quite capable of going to Mudie's 
to ask about us." 

"By Jove, you're right, sir, and I was wrong. 
We'd better go and take out a subscription to- 
morrow; she'll hardly go so far as to ask the 
date we started it." 

"Yes, let that be done. And, remember, no 
unnecessary talk." His tone grew milder, as 
though he were mollified by Beaumaroy's ready 
submission to his reproof. "We have some 
places to call at to-morrow, have we?" 

"They said they'd have some useful addresses 
ready for us, sir. I'm afraid, though, that we're 
exhausting the most obvious resources." 

"Still, I hope for a few more good consign- 
41 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

ments. I suppose you remain confident that the 
Sergeant has no suspicions as regards that par- 
ticular aspect of the matter ?" 

"I'm sure of it, up to the present. Of course 
there might be an accident, but with him and 
Mrs. Wiles both off the premises at night, it's 
hardly likely; and I never let the bag out of 
my sight while it's in the room with them, hardly 
out of my hand." 

"I should like to trust him, but it's hardly 
fair to put such a strain on his loyalty." 

"Much safer not, sir, as long as we're not 
driven to it. After all though, I believe the 
fellow is out to redeem his character, his isn't 
an unblemished record." 

"But the work, the physical labor, entailed on 
you, Hector!" 

"Make yourself easy about that, sir. I'm as 
strong as a horse. The work's good for me. 
Remember I've had four years' service." 

Mr. Saffron smiled pensively. "It would 
have been funny if we'd met over there! You 
and I!" 

42 



MR. SAFFRON AT HOME 



"It would, sir," laughed Beaumaroy. "But 
that could hardly have happened without some 
very curious accident." 

The old man harked back. "Yes, a few more 
good consignments, and we can think in earnest 
of your start." He was warming his hands, thin 
yellowish hands, at the fire now, and his gaze 
was directed into it. Looking down on him, 
Beaumaroy allowed a smile to appear on his lips, 
a queer smile, which seemed to be compounded 
of affection, pity, and amusement. 

"The difficulties there remain considerable for 
the present," he remarked. 

"They must be overcome." Once again the 
old man's voice became sharp and even dic- 
tatorial. 

"They shall be, sir, depend on it." Beau- 
maroy's air was suddenly confident, almost 
braggart. Mr. Saffron nodded approvingly. 
"But, anyhow, I can't very well start till favor- 
able news comes from " 

"Hush!" There was a knock on the door. 

"Mrs. Wiles, to lay the table, I suppose." 
43 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

"Yes 1 Come in 1" He added hastily to Beau- 
maroy, in an undertone. "Yes, we must wait for 
that." 

Mrs. Wiles entered as he spoke. She was a 
colorless, negative kind of a woman, fair, fat, 
flabby, and forty or thereabouts. She had been 
the ill-used slave of a local carpenter, now de- 
ceased by reason of over-drinking; her nature 
was to be the slave of the nearest male creature, 
not from affection (her affections were anaemic) 
but rather, as it seemed, from an instinctive de- 
sire to shuffle off from herself any responsibility. 
But, at all events, she was entirely free from 
Miss Delia Wall's proclivity. 

Mr. Saffron rose. "I'll go and wash my 
hands. We'll dine just as we are, Hector." 
Beaumaroy opened the door for him; he acknowl- 
edged the attention with a little nod, and passed 
out to the staircase in the narrow passage. 
Beaumaroy appeared to consider himself ab- 
solved from any preparation, for he returned 
to the big chair and, sinking into it, lit another 
cigarette. Meanwhile Mrs. Wiles laid the table, 

44 



MR. SAFFRON AT HOME 



and presently Sergeant Hooper appeared with a 
bottle of golden-tinted wine. 

"That, at least, is the real stuff," thought 
Beaumaroy as he eyed it in pleasurable anticipa- 
tion. "Where the dear old man got it, I don't 
know; but in itself it's almost worth all the 
racket." 

And really, in its present stages, so far as its 
present developments went, the "racket" pleased 
him. It amused his active brain, besides (as he 
had said to Mr. Saffron) exercising his active 
body, though certainly in a rather grotesque and 
bizarre fashion. The attraction of it went 
deeper than that. It appealed to some of those 
tendencies and impulses of his character which 
had earned such heavy censure from Major- 
General Punnit and had produced so grave an 
expression on Captain Alec's handsome face 
without, however, being, even in that officer's 
exacting judgment, disgraceful. And, finally, 
there was the lure of unexplored possibilities, 
not only material and external, but psycholog- 
ical* not only touching what others might do 

45 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

or what might happen to them, but raising also 
speculation as to what he might do, or what 
might happen to him at his own hands; for 
example, how far he would flout authority, 
defy the usual, and deny the accepted. The love 
of rebellion, of making foolish the wisdom of the 
wise, of hampering the orderly and inexorable 
treatment of people just as, according to tiie 
best modern lights, they ought to be treated, this 
lawless love was strong in Beaumaroy. Not as 
a principle; it was the stronger for being an 
instinct, a wayward instinct that might carry 
him, he scarce knew where. 

Mr. Saffron came back, greeted again by 
Beaumaroy's courtly bow and Hooper's vaguely 
reminiscent but slovenly military salute. The 
pair sat down to a homely beefsteak; but the 
golden tinted wine gurgled into their glasses. 
But, before they fell to, there was a little in- 
cident. A sudden, but fierce, anger seized old 
Mr. Saffron. In his harshest tones he rapped 
out at the Sergeant, "My knife! You careless 
scoundrel, you haven't given me my knife!" 

Beaumaroy sprang to his feet with a muttered 
46 



MR. SAFFRON AT HOME 



exclamation: "It's all my fault, sir. I forgot 
to give it to Hooper. I always lock it up when 
I go out." He went to a little oak sideboard 
and unlocked a drawer, then came back to Mr. 
Saffron's side. "Here it is, and I humbly 
apologize." 

"Very good! very good!" said the old man 
testily, as he took the implement. 

"Ain't anybody going to apologize to me?" 
asked Hooper, scowling. 

"Oh, get out, Sergeant!" said Beaumaroy 
good-naturedly. "We can't bother about your 
finer feelings." He glanced anxiously at Mr. 
Saffron. "All right now, aren't you, sir?" he 
inquired. 

Mr. Saffron drank his glass of wine. "I am 
perhaps too sensitive to any kind of inattention; 
but it's not wholly unnatural in my position, 
Hector." 

"We both desire to be attentive and respect- 
ful, sir. Don't we, Hooper?" 

"Oh my, yes!" grinned the Sergeant, showing 
his very ugly teeth. "It's only owing that we 
'aven't quite been brought up in royal palaces." 

47 



CHAPTER IV 

PROFESSIONAL ETIQUETTE 

Da. IRECHESTEE was a man of considerable 
attainments and an active, though not very per- 
severing, intellect. He was widely read both in 
professional and general literature, but had 
shrunk from the arduous path of specialization. 
'And he shrank even more from the drudgery of 
his calling. He had private means, inherited in 
middle life; his wife had a respectable portion; 
there was, then, nothing in his circumstances to 
thwart his tastes and tendencies. He had soon 
come to see in the late Dr. Evans a means of 
relief rather than a threat of rivalry; even more 
easily he slipped into the same way of regard- 
ing Mary Arkroyd, helped thereto by a linger- 
ing feeling that, after all and in spite of all, 
when it came to really serious cases, a woman 
could not, at best, play more than second fiddle. 

48 



PROFESSIONAL ETIQUETTE 



So, as has been seen, he patronized and en- 
couraged Mary; he told himself that, when she 
had thoroughly proved her capacity within the 
limits which he ascribed to it to take her into 
partnership would not be a bad arrangement. 
True, he could pretty; well choose his patients 
now; but as senior partner he would be able 
to do it completely. It was well-nigh inconceiv- 
able that, for example, the Naylors great 
friends should ever leave him; but he would 
like to be quite secure of the pick of new patients, 
some of whom might, through ignorance or 
whim, call in Mary. There was old Saffron, for 
instance. He was, in Irechester's private 
opinion, or, perhaps it should be said in his 
private suspicions, an interesting case; yet, just 
for that reason, unreliable, and evidently ready 
to take offense. It was because of cases of that 
kind that he contemplated offering partnership 
to Mary ; he would both be sure of keeping them 
and able to devote himself to them. 

But his wife laughed at Mary, or at that de- 
velopment of the feminist movement which had 

49 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

produced her and so many other more startling 
phenomena. The Doctor was fond of his wife, 
a sprightly, would-be fashionable, still very 
pretty woman. But her laughter, and the 
opinion it represented, were to him the merest 
crackling of thorns under a pot. 

The fine afternoon had come, a few days be- 
fore Christmas, and he sat, side by side with 
Mr. Naylor, both warmly wrapped in coats and 
rugs, watching the lawn tennis at Old Place. 
Doctor Mary and Beaumaroy were playing to- 
gether, the latter accustoming himself to a 
finger short in gripping his racquet, against 
Cynthia and Captain Alec. The Captain could 
not yet cover the court in his old fashion, but 
his height and reach made him formidable at 
the net, and Cynthia was very active. Ten days 
of Inkston air had made a vast difference to 
Cynthia. And something else was helping. It 
required no common loyalty to lost causes and 
ruined ideals it is surely not harsh to indicate 
Captain Cranster by these terms? to resist 
Alec Naylor. In fact he had almost taken Cyn- 

50 



PROFESSIONAL ETIQUETTE 



thia's breath away at their first meeting; she 
thought that she had never seen anything quite 
so magnificent, or all round and from all points 
of view, so romantic; his stature, handsomeness, 
limp, renown. Who can be surprised at it? 
Moreover, he was modest and simple, and no 
fool within the bounds of his experience. 

"She seems a nice little girl, that, and uncom- 
mon pretty," Naylor remarked. 

"Yes, but he's a queer fish, I fancy," the 
Doctor answered, also rather absently. Their 
minds were not running on parallel lines. 

"My boy a queer fish?" Naylor expostulated 
humorously. 

Irechester smiled; his lips shut close and tight, 
his smile was quick but narrow. "You're match- 
making. I was diagnosing," he said. 

Naylor apologized. "I've a desperate instinct 
to fit all these young fellows up with mates as 
soon as possible. Isn't it only fair?" 

"And also extremely expedient. But it's the 
sort of thing you can leave to them, can't you?" 

"As to Beaumaroy I suppose you meant 
51 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

him, not Alec I think you must have been talk- 
ing to old Tom Punnit or, rather, hearing him 
talk." 

"Punnit's general view is sound enough, I 
think, as to the man's characteristics; but he 
doesn't appreciate his cunning." 

"Cunning?" Naylor was openly astonished. 
"He doesn't strike me as a cunning man, not in 
the least." 

"Possibly, possibly, I say not in his ends, 
but in his means and expedients. That's my 
view. I just put it on record, Naylor. I never 
like talking too much about my cases." 

"Beaumaroy's not your patient, is he?" 

"His employer, I suppose he's his employer, 
Saffron is. Well, I thought it advisable to see 
Saffron alone. I tried to. Saffron was re- 
luctant, this man here openly against it. Next 
time I shall insist. Because I think, mind you, 
at present I no more than think, that there's 
more in Saffron's case than meets the eye." 

Naylor glanced at him, smiling. "You fellows 
are always starting hares," he said. 

52 



PROFESSIONAL ETIQUETTE 



"Game and set!" cried Captain Alec, and 
to his partner "Thank you very much for car- 
rying a cripple." 

But Irechester's attention remained fixed on 
Beaumaroy, and consequently on Doctor Mary, 
for the partners did not separate at the end of 
their game, but, after putting on their coats, 
began to walk up and down together on the other 
side of the court, in animated conversation, 
though Beaumaroy did most of the talking, 
Mary listening in her usual grave and composed 
manner. Now and then a word or two reached 
Irechester's ears, old Naylor seemed to have 
fallen into a reverie over his cigar, and it must 
be confessed that he took no pains not to over- 
hear. Once at least he plainly heard "Saffron" 
from Beaumaroy; he thought that the same lips 
spoke his own name, and he was sure that Doctor 
Mary's did. Beaumaroy was speaking rather 
urgently, and making gestures with his hands; 
it seemed as though he were appealing to his 
companion in some difficulty or perplexity. Ire- 

53 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

Chester's mouth was severely compressed and his 
glance suspicious as he watched. 

The scene was ended by Gertie Naylor calling 
these laggards in to tea, to which meal the rest 
of the company had already betaken itself. 

At the tea table they found General Punnit 
discoursing on war, and giving "idealists" what 
idealists usually get. The General believed in 
war ; he pressed the biological argument, did not 
flinch when Mr. Naylor dubbed him the "Brit- 
ish Bernhardi," and invoked the support of 
"these medical gentleman" (this with a smile at 
Doctor Mary's expense) for his point of view. 
War tested, proved, braced, hardened; it was 
nature's crucible; it was the antidote to softness 
and sentimentality; it was the vindication of the 
strong, the elimination of the weak. 

"I suppose there's a lot in all that, sir," said 
'Alec Itfaylor, "but I don't think the effect on 
one's character is always what you say. I think 
I've come out of this awful business a good deal 
softer than I went in." He laughed in an 
apologetic way. "More, more sentimental, if you 

54 



PROFESSIONAL ETIQUETTE 



like, with more feeling, don't you know, for 
human life, and suffering, and so on. I've seen 
a great many men killed, but the sight hasn't 
made me any more ready to kill men. In fact, 
quite the reverse." He smiled again. "Really 
sometimes, for a row of pins, I'd have turned 
conscientious objector." 

Mrs. Naylor looked apprehensively at the 
General: would he explode? No, he took it quite 
quietly. "You're a man who can afford to say 
it, Alec," he remarked, with a nod that was al- 
most approving. 

Naylor looked affectionately at his son and 
turned to Beaumaroy. "And what's the war 
done to you?" he asked. And this question did 
draw from the General, if not an explosion, at 
least a rather contemptuous smile: Beaumaroy 
had earned no right to express opinions! 

But express one he did, and with his habitual 
air of candor. "I believe it's destroyed ever^ 
scruple I ever had!" 

"Mr. Beaumaroy!" exclaimed his hostess, 
55 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

scandalized; while the two girls, Cynthia and 
Gertie, laughed. 

"I mean it. Can you bJe human life treated 
as dirt, absolutely as cheap as dirt, for three 
years, and come out thinking it worth anything? 
Can you fight for your own hand, right or 
wrong? Oh, yes, right or wrong, in the end, and 
it's no good blinking it. Can you do that for 
three years in wai, and then hesitate to fight for 
your own hand, right or wrong, in peace ? Who 
really cares for right or wrong, anyhow?" 

A pause ensued rather an uncomfortable 
pause. There was a raw sincerity in Beau- 
maroy's utterance that made it a challenge. 

"I honestly think we did care about the rights 
and wrongs we in England," said Naylor. 

"That was certainly so at the beginning," 
Irechester agreed. 

Beaumaroy took him up smartly. "Aye, at 
the beginning. But what about when our blood 
got up? What then? Would we, in our hearts, 
rather have been right and got a licking, or 
wrong and given one?" 

56 



PROFESSIONAL ETIQUETTE 



"A searching question!" mused old Naylor. 
"What say you, Tom Punnit?" 

"It never occurred to me to put the question," 
the General answered brusquely. 

"May I ask why not, sir?" said Beaumaroy 
respectfully. 

"Because I believed in God. I knew that we 
were right, and I knew that we should win." 

"Are we in theology now, or still in biology?" 
asked Irechester, rather acidly. 

"You're getting out of my depth anyhow," 
smiled Mrs. Naylor. "And I'm sure the girls 
must be bewildered." 

"Mamma, I've done biology!" 

"And many people think they've done the- 
ology !" chuckled Naylor. "Done it completely !" 

"I've raised a pretty argument!" said Beau- 
maroy, smiling. "I'm sorry! I only meant to 
answer your question about the effect the whole 
thing has had on myself." 

"Even your answer to that was pretty start- 
ling, Mr. Beaumaroy," said Doctor Mary, smil- 
ing too. "You gave us to understand that it 

57 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

had obliterated for you all distinctions of right 
and wrong, didn't you?" 

"Did I go as far as that?" he laughed. "Then 
I'm open to the remark that they can't have 
been very strong at first." 

"Now don't destroy the general interest of 
your thesis," Naylor implored. "It's quite likely 
that yours is a case as common as Alec's, or 
even commoner. 'A brutal and licentious sol- 
diery,' isn't that a classic phrase in our histories? 
All the same, I fancy Mr. Beaumaroy does 
himself less than justice." He laughed. "We 
shall be able to judge of that when we know 
him better." 

"At all events, Miss Gertie, look out that I 
don't fake the score at tennis!" said Beaumaroy. 

"A man might be capable of murder, but not 
capable of that," said Alec. 

"A truly British sentiment!" cried his father. 
"Tom, we have got back to the national ideals." 

The discussion ended in laughter, and the talk 
turned to lighter matters ; but, as Mary Arkroyd 
drove Cynthia home across the heath, her 

58 






PROFESSIONAL ETIQUETTE 



thoughts returned to it. The two men, the two 
soldiers, seemed to have given an authentic ac- 
count of what their experience had done to them. 
Both, as she saw the case, had been moved to 
pity, horror, and indignation that such things 
should be done, or should have to be done, in 
the world. After that point came the divergence. 
The higher nature had been raised, the lower 
debased; Alec Naylor's sympathies had been 
sharpened and sensitized; Beaumaroy's blunted. 
Where the one had found ideals and incentives, 
the other found despair a despair that issued 
in excuses and denied high standards. And the 
finer min.d belonged to the finer soldier; that 
she knew, for Gertie had told her General 
Punnit's story, and, however much she might 
discount it as the tale of an elderly martinet, 
yet it stood for something, for something that 
could never be attributed to Alec Naylor. 

And yet, for her mind traveled back to her 
earlier talk by the tennis court, Beaumaroy had 
a conscience, had feelings. He was fond of old 
Mr. Saffron; he felt a responsibility for him 

59 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

felt it, indeed, keenly. Or was he, under all that 
seeming openness, a consummate hypocrite? 
Did he value Mr. Saffron only as a milch cow, 
the doting giver of a large salary? Was his 
only desire to humor him, keep him in good 
health and temper, and use him to his own profit ? 
A puzzling man, but, at all events, cutting a 
poor figure beside Alec Naylor, about whom 
there could circle no clouds of doubt. Doctor 
Mary's learning and gravity did not prevent her 
from drawing a very heroic and rather romantic 
figure of Captain Alec notwithstanding that 
she sometimes found him rather hard to talk to. 

She felt Cynthia's arm steal around her waist, 
and Cynthia said softly, "I did enjoy my after- 
noon. Can we go again soon, Mary?" 

Mary glanced at her. Cynthia laughed and 
blushed. "Isn't he splendid?" Cynthia murmured. 
"But I don't like Mr. Beaumaroy, do you?" 

"I say yes to the first question, but I'm not 
quite ready to answer the second," said Mary 

with a laugh. 

* * * m 

60 



PROFESSIONAL ETIQUETTE 



Three days later, on Christmas Eve, one whom 
Jeanne, who caught sight of him in the hall, 
described as being all there was possible of 
ugliness, delivered (with a request for an im- 
mediate answer) the following note for Mary 
Arkroyd: 

DEAR DR. ARKROYD: 

Mr. Saffron is unwell, and I have insisted that he 
must see a doctor. So much he has yielded, after a 
fight! But nothing will induce him to see Dr. Irechester 
again. On this point I tried to reason with him, but in 
vain. He is obstinate and resolved. I am afraid that I 
am putting you in a difficult and disagreeable position, 
but it seems to me that I have no alternative but to ask 
you to call on him professionally. I hope that Dr. Ire- 
chester will not be hurt by a whim which is, no doubt, 
itself merely a symptom of disordered nerves, for Dr. 
Irechester has been most attentive and very successful 
hitherto in dealing with the dear old gentleman. But my 
first duty is to Mr. Saffron. If it will ease matters at all, 
pray hold yourself at liberty to show this note to Dr. 
Irechester. May I beg you to be kind enough to call at 
your earliest convenience, though it is, alas, a rough even- 
ing to ask you to come out? 

Yours very faithfully, 

HECTOR BEAUMAROY. 

61 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

"How very awkward!" exclaimed Mary. She 
had prided herself on a rigorous abstention from 
"poaching"; she fancied that men were very 
ready to accuse women of not "playing the 
game" and had been resolved to give no color to 
such an accusation. "Mr. Saffron has senl for 
me professionally. He's ill, it seems," she said 
to Cynthia. 

"Why shouldn't he?" 

"Because he is a patient of Dr. Irechester, not 
a patient of mine." 

"But people often change their doctors, don't 
they? He thinks you're cleverer, I suppose, and 
I expect you are really." 

There was no use in expounding professional 
etiquette to Cynthia. Mary had to decide the 
point for herself, and quickly ; the old man might 
be seriously ill. Beaumaroy had said at the 
Naylors' that his attacks were sometimes alarm- 
ing. 

Suddenly she recollected that he had also 
seemed to hint that they were more alarming 
than Irechester appeared to appreciate; she had 

62 



PROFESSIONAL ETIQUETTE 



not taken much notice of that hint at the time, 
but now it recurred to her very distinctly. There 
was no suggestion of the sort in Beaumaroy's 
letter. Beaumaroy had written a letter that 
could be shown to Irechester! Was that dis- 
honesty, or only a pardonable diplomacy? 

"I suppose I must go, and explain to Dr. 
Irechester afterwards." She rang the bell, to 
recall the maid, and gave her answer. "Say I 
will be round as soon as possible. Is the mes- 
senger walking?" 

"He's got a bicycle, Miss." 

"All right. I shall be there almost as soon 
as he is." 

She seemed to have no alternative, just as 
Beaumaroy had none. Yet while she put on 
her mackintosh, it was very wet and misty, got 
out her car, and lit her lamps, her face was still 
fretful and her mind disturbed. For now, as 
she looked back on it, Beaumaroy's conversation 
with her at Old Place seemed just a prelude to 
this summons, and meant to prepare her for it. 
Perhaps that too was pardonable diplomacy, 

63 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

and no reference to it could be expected in a 
letter which she was at liberty to show to Dr. 
Irechester. She wondered, uncomfortably, how 
Irechester would take it. 



CHAPTER V 

A FAMILIAR IMPLEMENT 

As Mary brought her car to a stand at the 
gate of the little front garden of Tower Cottage, 
she saw, through the mist, Beaumaroy's corru- 
gated face ; he was standing in the doorway, and 
the light in the passage revealed it. It seemed 
to her to wear a triumphant impish look, but 
this vanished as he advanced to meet her, relieved 
her of the neat black handbag which she always 
carried with her on her visits, and suggested 
gravely that she should at once go upstairs and 
see her patient. 

"He's quieter now," he said. "The mere news 
that you were coming had a soothing effect. Let 
me show you the way." He led her upstairs and 
into a small room on the first floor, nakedly fur- 
nished with necessities, but with a cheery fire 
blazing in the grate. 

65 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

Old Mr. Saffron lay in bed, propped up by 
pillows. His silver hair strayed from under a 
nightcap; he wore a light blue bedroom jacket; 
its color matched that of his restless eyes; his 
arms were under the clothes from the elbows 
down. He was rather flushed, but did not look 
seriously ill, and greeted Doctor Mary with dig- 
nified composure. 

"I'll see Dr. Arkroyd alone, Hector." Beau- 
maroy gave the slightest little jerk of his head, 
and the old man added quickly, "I am sure of 
myself, quite sure." 

The phrase sounded rather an odd one to 
Mary, but Beaumaroy accepted the assurance 
with a nod: "All right, I'll wait downstairs, sir. 
I hope you'll bring me a good account of him, 
Doctor." So he left Mary to make her examina- 
tion; going downstairs, he shook his head once, 
pursed up his lips, and then smiled doubtfully, 
as a man may do when he has made up his mind 
to take a chance. 

When Mary rejoined him, she asked for pen 
and paper, wrote a prescription, and requested 

66 



A FAMILIAR IMPLEMENT 



that Beaumaroy's man should take *t to the 
chemist's. He went out, to give it to the Ser- 
geant, and, when he came back, found her seated 
in the big chair by the fire. 

"The present little attack is nothing, Mr. 
Beaumaroy," she said. "Stomachic with a little 
fever; if he takes what I've prescribed, he ought 
to be all right in the morning. But I suppose 
you know that there is valvular disease quite 
definite? Didn't Dr. Irechester tell you?" 

"Yes; but he said there was no particular no 
immediate danger." 

"If he's kept quiet and free from worry. 
Didn't he advise that?" 

"Yes," Beaumaroy admitted, "he did. That's 
the only thing you find wrong with him, Doctor?" 

Beaumaroy was standing on the far side of the 
table, his finger-tips resting lightly on it. He 
looked across at Mary with eyes candidly in- 
quiring. 

"I've found nothing else so far. I suppose 
he's got nothing to worry him?" 

"Not really, I think. He fusses a bit about 
67 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

his affairs." He smiled. "We go to London 
every week to fuss about his affairs; he's always 
changing his investments, taking his money out 
of one thing and putting it in another, you know. 
Old people get like that sometimes, don't they'* 
I'm a novice at that kind of thing, never having 
had any money to play with; but I'm bound to 
say that he seems to know very well what he's 
about." 

"Do you know anything of his history or his 
people? Has he any relations?" 

"I know very little. I don't think he has any, 
any real relations, so to speak. There are, I 
believe, some cousins, distant cousins, whom he 
hates. In fact, a lonely old bachelor, Dr. 
Arkroyd." 

Mary gave a little laugh and became less pro- 
fessional. "He's rather an old dear! He uses 
funny stately phrases. He said I might speak 
quite openly to you, ae you were closely attached 
to his person!" 

"Sounds rather like a newspaper, doesn't it? 
He does talk like that sometimes." Beaumaroy 

68 



A FAMILIAR IMPLEMENT 



moved round the table, came close to the fire, 
and stood there, smiling down at Mary. 

"He's very fond of you, I think," she went on. 

"He reposes entire confidence in me," said 
Beaumaroy, with a touch of assumed pompous- 
ness. 

"Those were his very words!" cried Mary, 
laughing again. "And he said it just in that 
way! How clever of you to guess!" 

"Not so very. He says it to me six times a 
week." 

Mary had risen, about to take her leave, but 
to her surprise Beaumaroy went on quickly, with 
one of his confidential smiles, "And now I'm 
going to show you that I have the utmost con- 
fidence in you. Please sit down again, Dr. 
Arkroyd. The matter concerns your patient 
just as much as myself, or I wouldn't trouble 
you with it, at any rate I shouldn't venture to 
so early in our acquaintance. I want you to 
consider yourself as Mr. Saffron's medical ad- 
viser, and, also, to try to imagine yourself my 
friend." 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

"I've every inclination to be your friend, but 
I hardly know you, Mr. Beaumaroy." 

"And feel a few doubts about me? From 
what you've heard from myself, and perhaps 
from others?" 

The wind swished outside; save for that, the 
little room seemed very still. The professional 
character of the interview did not save it, for 
Mary Arkroyd, from a sudden and rather un- 
welcome sense of intimacy, of an intimacy 
thrust upon her, though not so much by her 
companion as by circumstances. She answered 
rather stiffly, "Perhaps I have some doubts." 

"You detect, very acutely, that I have a great 
influence over Mr. Saffron. You ask, very 
properly, whether he has relations. I think you 
threw out a feeler about his money affairs, 
whether he had anything to worry about was 
your phrase, wasn't it? Am I misinterpreting 
what was in your mind?" 

As he spoke, he offered her a cigarette from 
a box on the mantelpiece. She took one and lit 
it at the top of the lamp-chimney; then she sat 

70 



A FAMILIAR IMPLEMENT 



down again in the big chair; she had not accepted 
his earlier invitation to resume her seat. 

"It was proper for me to put those questions, 
Mr. Beaumaroy. Mr. Saffron is not a sound 
man, and he's old. In normal conditions his 
relations should at least be warned of the posi- 
tion." 

"Exactly," Beaumaroy assented with an ap- 
pearance of eagerness. "But he hates them. Any 
suggestion that they have any sort of claim on 
him raises strong resentment in him. I've known 
old men, old moneyed men, like that before, 
and no doubt you have. Well now, you'll begin 
to see the difficulty of my position. I'll put the 
case to you quite bluntly. Suppose Mr. Saffron, 
having this liking for me, this confidence in me, 
living here with me alone, except for servants; 
being, as one might say, exposed to my in- 
fluence ; suppose he took it into his head to make 
a will in my favor, to leave me all his money. 
It's quite a considerable sum, so far as our 
Wednesday doings enable me to judge. Sup- 
j>ose that happened, how should I stand in your 

71 



opinion, Dr. Arkroyd? But wait a moment still. 
Suppose that my career has not been very, well, 
resplendent; that my army record is only so-so; 
that I've devoted myself to him with remarkable 
assiduity, as in fact I have; that I might be 
called, quite plausibly, an adventurer. Well, 
propounding that will, how should I stand be- 
fore the world and, if necessary (he shrugged 
his shoulders), the Court?" 

Mary sat silent for a moment or two. Beau- 
maroy knelt down by the fire, rearranged the 
logs of wood which were smouldering there, and 
put on a couple more. From that position, 
looking into the grate, he added, "And the 
change of doctors? It was he, of course, who 
insisted on it, but I can see a clever lawyer using 
that against me too. Can't you, Dr. Arkroyd?" 

"I'm sure I wish you hadn't had to make the 
change!" exclaimed Mary. 

"So do I; though, mind you, I'm not pretend- 
ing that Irechester is a favorite of mine, any 
more than he is of my old friend's. Still, there 
it is. I've no right, perhaps, to press my ques- 

72 



A FAMILIAR IMPLEMENT 



tion, but your opinion would be of real yalue to 
me." 

"I see no reason to think that he's not quite 
competent to make a will," said Doctor Mary. 
"And no real reason why he shouldn't prefer 
you to distant relations whom he dislikes." 

"Ah, no real reason ; that's what you say ! You 
mean that people would impute- " 

Mary Arkroyd had her limitations of expe- 
rience, of knowledge, of intuition. But she did 
not lack courage. 

"I have given you my professional opinion. 
It is that, so far as I see, Mr. Saffron is of per- 
fectly sound understanding, and capable of 
making a valid will. You did me the honor " 

"No, no!" he interrupted in a low but rather 
strangely vehement protest. "I begged the 
favor " 

"As you like! The favor then, of asking me 
to give you my opinion as your friend, as well 
as my view as Mr. Saffron's doctor." 

Beaumaroy did not rise from his knees, but 
turned his face towards her; the logs had blazed 

73 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

up, and his eyes looked curiously bright in the 
glare, themselves, as it were, afire. 

"In my opinion a man of sensitive honor would 
prefer that that will should not be made, Mr. 
Beaumaroy," said Mary steadily. 

Beaumaroy appeared to consider. "I'm a bit 
posed by that point of view, Dr. Arkroyd," he 
said at last. "Either the old man's sane com- 
pos mentis, don't you call it? or he isn't. If 
he is " 

"I know. But I feel that way about it." 

"You'd have to give evidence for me!" He 
raised his brows and smiled at her. 

"There can be undue influence without actual 
want of mental competence, I think." 

"I don't know whether my influence is undue. 
I believe I'm the only creature alive who cares 
twopence for the poor old gentleman." 

"I know! I know! Mr. Beaumaroy, your 
position is very difficult. I see that. It really 
is. But, would you take the money for yourself? 
Aren't you well, rather in the position of a 
trustee?" 

74 



A FAMILIAR IMPLEMENT 



"Who for? The hated cousins? What's the 
reason in that?" 

"They may be very good people really. Old 
men take fancies, as you said yourself. And they 
may have built on " 

"Stepping into a dead man's shoes? I dare 
say. Why mayn't I build on it too? Why not 
my hand against the other fellow's?" 

"That's what you learnt from the war! You 
said so at Old Place. Captain Naylor said 
something different." 

"Suppose Alec Naylor and I, a hero and a 
damaged article," he smiled at Mary, and she 
smiled back with a sudden enjoyment of the 
humorous yet bitter tang in his voice, "loved 
the same woman, and I had a chance of her. 
Am I to give it up?" 

"Really we're getting a long way from medi- 
cine, Mr. Beaumaroyl" 

"Oh, you're a general practitioner! Wise on 
all subjects under heaven! Conceive yourself 
hesitating between him and me " 

Mary laughed frankly. "How absurd you 
75 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

are ! If you must go on talking, talk seriously." 

"But why am I absurd?" 

"Because, if I were a marrying woman, which 
I'm not, I shouldn't hesitate between you and 
Captain Naylor, not for a minute." 

"You'd jump at me?" 

Laughing again, his eyes had now a schoolboy 
merriment in them, Mary rose from the big chair. 
"At him, if I'm not being impolite, Mr. Beau- 
maroy." 

They stood face to face. For the first time 
for several years Mary's girlhood had not been 
altogether empty of sentimental episodes she 
blushed under a man's glance, because it was a 
man's. At this event, of which she was acutely 
conscious and at which she was intensely irri- 
tated, she drew herself up, with an attempt to 
return to her strictly professional manner. 

"I don't find you the least impolite, Dr. Ark- 
royd," said Beaumaroy. 

It was impudent, yet gay, dexterous, and 
elusive enough to avoid reproof. With no more 
than a little shake of her head and a light yet 

76 



A FAMILIAR IMPLEMENT 



embarrassed laugh, Mary moved toward the 
door, her way lying between the table and an old 
oak sideboard, which stood against the wall. 
Some plates, knives, and other articles of the 
table lay strewn, none too tidily, about it. Beau- 
maroy followed her, smiling complacently, his 
hands in his pockets. 

Suddenly Mary came to a stop and pointed 
with her finger at the sideboard, turning her face 
towards her companion. At the same instant 
Beaumaroy's right hand shot out from his pocket 
towards the sideboard, as though to snatch up 
something from it. Then he drew the hand as 
swiftly back again; but his eyes watched Mary's 
with an alert and suspicious gaze. That was 
for a second only; then his face resumed its 
amused and nonchalant expression. But the 
movement of the hand and the look of the eyes 
had not escaped Mary's attention; her voice be- 
trayed some surprise as she said: 

"It's only that I just happened to notice that 
combination knife-and-fork lying there, and I 

wondered who " 

77 



THE SECRE1 OF THE TOWER 

The article in question lay among some half- 
dozen ordinary knives and forks. It was of a 
kind quite familiar to Doctor Mary from her 
hospital experience, a fork on one side, a knife- 
blade on the other; an implement made for 
people who could command the use of only one 
hand. 

"Surely you've noticed my hand?" He drew 
his right hand again from the pocket to which 
he had so quickly returned it. "I used to use 
that in hospital, when I was bandaged up. But 
that's a long while ago now, and I can't think 
why Hooper's left it lying there." 

The account was plausible, and entirely the 
same might now be said of his face and manner. 
But Mary had seen the dart of his hand and the 
sudden alertness in his eyes. Her own rested 
on him for a moment with inquiry, for the first 
time with a hint of distrust. "I see!" she mur- 
mured vaguely, and, turning away from him, 
pursued her way to the door. Beaumaroy fol- 
lowed her with a queer smile on Ms lips; he 
shrugged his shoulders once, very slightly. 

A constraint had fallen on Mary. She allowed 
78 



A FAMILIAR IMPLEMENT 



herself to be escorted to the car and helped into 
it in silence. Beaumaroy made no effort to force 
the talk, possibly by reason of the presence of 
Sergeant Hooper, who had arrived back from 
the chemist's with the medicine for Mr. Saffron 
just as Mary and Beaumaroy came out of the 
hall door. He stood by his bicycle, drawing just 
a little aside to let them pass, but not far enough 
to prevent the light from the passage showing 
up his ill-favored countenance. 

"Well, good-bye, Dr. Arkroyd. I'll see how 
he is to-morrow, and ask you to be kind enough 
to call again, if it seems advisable. And a thou- 
sand thanks." 

"Good-night, Mr. Beaumaroy." 

She started the car. Beaumaroy walked back 
to the hall door. Mary glanced behind her once, 
and saw him standing by it, again framed by 
the light behind him, as she had seen him on her 
arrival. But, this time, within the four corners 
of the same frame was included the forbidding 
visage of Sergeant Hooper. 

Beaumaroy returned to the fire in the parlor; 
Hooper, leaving his bicycle in the passage, fol- 

79 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

lowed him into the room and put the medicine 
bottle on the table. Smiling at him, Beaumaroy 
pointed at the combination knife-and-fork. 

"Is it your fault or mine that that damned 
thing's lying there?" he asked. 

"Yours," answered the Sergeant without hesi- 
tation and with his habitual surliness. "I cleaned 
it and put it out for you to lock away, as usual. 
Suppose you went and forgot it, sirl" 

Beaumaroy shook his head in self-condemna- 
tion and a humorous dismay. "That's it I I 
went and forgot it, Sergeant. And I think, I 
rather think, that Doctor Mary smells a rat, 
though she is, at present, far from guessing the 
color of the animal!" 

The words sounded scornful; they were spoken 
for the Sergeant as well as for himself. He was 
looking amused and kindly, even rather tenderly 
amused; as though liking and pity were the 
emotions which most actively survived his first 
private conversation with Doctor Mary, in spite 
of that mishap of the combination knife-and- 
fork. 

80 



CHAPTER VI 

ODD STORY OF CAPTAIN DUGGLE 

CHRISTMAS DAY of 1918 was a merry feast, 
and nowhere merrier than at Old Place. There 
was a house-party and, for dinner on the day 
itself, a local contingent as well: Miss Wall, the 
Irechesters, Mr. Penrose, and Doctor Mary. 
Mr. Beaumaroy also had been invited by Mrs. 
'Naylor; she considered him an interesting man 
and felt pity for the obvious ennui of his situa- 
tion; but he had not felt able to leave his old 
friend. Doctor Mary's Paying Guest was of 
the house-party, not merely a dinner guest. She 
was asked over to spend three days and went, 
accompanied by Jeanne, who by this time was 
crying much less ; crying was no longer the cue ; 
her mistress, and not merely stern Doctor Mary, 
had plainly shown her that. Gertie Naylor had 
invited Cynthia to help her in entertaining the 

81 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

subalterns, though Gertie was really quite equal 
to that task herself; there were only three of 
them, and if a pretty girl is not equal to three 
subalterns, well, what are we coming to in Eng- 
land? And, as it turned out, Miss Gertie had 
to deal with them all, sometimes collectively, 
sometimes one by one, practically unassisted. 
Cynthia was otherwise engaged. Gertie com- 
plained neither of the cause nor of its conse- 
quence. 

The drink, or drugs, hypothesis was exploded, 
and Miss Wall's speculations set at rest, with 
a quite comforting solatium of romantic and 
unhappy interest, "a nice tit-bit for the old cat," 
as Mr. Naylor unkindly put it. Cynthia had 
told her story; she wanted a richer sympathy 
than Doctor Mary's common-sense afforded ; out 
of this need the revelation came to Gertie in 
innocent confidence, and, with the narrator's 
tacit approval, ran through the family and its 
intimate friends. If Cynthia had been as cal- 
culating as she was guileless, she could not have 
done better for herself. Mrs. Naylor's mother- 

82 



ODD STORY OF CAPTAIN DUGGLE 

liness, old Naylor's courtliness, Gertie's breath- 
less concern and avid appetite for the fullest 
detail, everybody's desire to console and cheer, 
all these were at her service, all enlisted in the 
effort to make her forget, and live and laugh 
again. Her heart responded; she found herself 
becoming happy at a rate which made her posi- 
tively ashamed. No wonder tactful Jeanne dis- 
covered that the cue was changed! 

Fastidious old Naylor regarded his wife with 
the affection of habit and with a little disdain 
for the ordinariness of her virtues not to say 
of the mind which they adorned. His daughter 
was to him a precious toy, on which he tried 
jokes, played tricks, and lavished gifts, for the 
joy of seeing the prettiness of her reactions to 
his treatment. It never occurred to him to think 
that his toy might be broken; fond as he was, 
his feeling for her lacked the apprehensiveness 
of the deepest love. But he idolized his son, 
and in this case neither without fear nor without 
understanding. Foi four years now he had 
feared for him bitterly: for his body, for his life. 

83 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

At every waking hour his inner cry had been 
even as David's, "Would God I had died for 
thee, my son, my son!" For at every moment 
of those four years it might be that his son was 
even then dead. That terror, endured under a 
cool and almost off-hand demeanor, was past; 
but he feared for his son still. Of all who went 
to the war as Crusaders, none had the tempera- 
ment more ardently than Alec. As he went, so, 
obviously, he had come back, not disillusioned, 
nay, with all his illusions, or delusions, about 
this wicked world and its possibilities, about the 
people who dwell in it and their lamentable 
limitations, stronger in his mind than ever. How 
could he get through life without being too sorely 
hurt and wounded, without being cut to the very 
quick by his inevitable discoveries? Old Naylor 
did not see how it was to be done, or even hoped 
for; but the right kind of wife was unquestion- 
ably the best chance. 

He had cast a speculative eye on Cynthia 
Walford, Irechester had caught him at it, but, 
as he observed her more, she did not altogether 

84 



ODD STORY OF CAPTAIN DUGGLE 

satisfy him. Alec needed someone more stable, 
stronger, someone in a sense protective; some- 
body more like Mary Arkroyd; that idea passed 
through his thoughts; if only Mary would take 
the trouble to dress herself, remember that she 
was, or might be made, an attractive young 
woman; and, yes, throw her mortar and pestle 
out of the window without, however, discarding 
with them the sturdy, sane, balanced qualities 
of mind which enabled her to handle them with 
such admirable competence. But he soon had to 
put this idea from him. His son's own impulse 
was to give, not to seek, protection and support. 

Of Cynthia's woeful experience Alec had 
spoken to his father once only: "It makes me 
mad to think the fellow who did that wore a 
British uniform!" 

How unreasonable! Since by all the laws of 
average, when millions of men are wearing a 
uniform, there must be some rogues in it. But 
it was Alec's way to hold himself responsible 
for the whole of His Majesty's Forces. Their 
honor was his; for their misdeeds he must in his 

85 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

own person make reparation. "That fellow 
Beaumaroy may have lost his conscience, but my 
boy seems to have acquired five million," the 
old man grumbled to himself a grumble full 
of pride. 

The father might analyze; with Alec it was 
all impulse, the impulse to soothe, to obliterate, 
to atone. The girl had been sorely hurt ; with the 
acuteness of sympathy he divined that she felt 
herself in a way soiled and stained by contact 
with unworthiness and by a too easy acceptance 
of it. All that must be swept out of her heart, 
out of her memory, if it could be. 

Doctor Mary saw what was happening, and 
with a little pang to which she would not have 
liked to own. She had set love affairs, and all 
the notions connected therewith, behind her; but 
she had idealized Alec Naylor a little; and she 
thought Cynthia, in homely phrase, "hardly 
good enough." Was it not rather perverse that 
the very fact of having been a little goose should 
help her to win so rare a swan? 

"You're taking my patient out of my hands, 
86 



ODD STORY OF CAPTAIN DUGGLE 

Captain Alec!" she said to him jokingly. "And 
you're devoting great attention to the case." 

He flushed. "She seems to like to talk to me," 
he answered simply. "She seems to me to have 
rather a remarkable mind, Doctor Mary." 
(She was "Doctor Mary" to all the Old Place 
party now, in affection, with a touch of chaff.) 

O sancta simplicitas! Mary longed to say 
that Cynthia was a very ordinary child. Like 
to talk to him, indeed! Of course she did; and 
to use her girl's weapons on him ; and to wonder, 
in an almost awestruck delight, at their effect 
on this dazzling hero. Well, the guilelessness 
of heroes! 

So mused Mary, on the unprofessional side 
of her mind, as she watched, that Christmastide, 
Captain Alec's delicate, sensitively indirect, 
and delayed approach toward the ripe fruit that 
hung so ready to his hand. "Part of his chiv- 
alry to assume she can't think of him yet!" 
Mary was half-impatient, half-reluctantly ad- 
miring; not an uncommon mixture of feeling for 
the extreme forms of virtue to produce. In the 

87 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

net result, however, her marked image of Alec 
lost something of its heroic proportions. 

But professionally (the distinction must not 
be pushed too far, she was not built in water- 
tight compartments) Tower Cottage remained 
obstinately in the center of her thoughts; and, 
connected with it, there arose a puzzle over Dr. 
Irechester's demeanor. She had taken advan- 
tage of Beaumaroy's permission, though rather 
doubtful whether she was doing right, for she 
was still inexperienced in niceties of etiquette, 
and sent on the letter, with a frank note explain- 
ing her own feelings and the reason which had 
caused her to pay her visit to Mr. Saffron. 
But though Irechester was quite friendly when 
they met at Old Place before dinner, and talked 
freely to her during a rather prolonged period 
of waiting (Captain Alec and Cynthia, Gertie 
and two subalterns were very late, having ap- 
parently forgotten dinner in more refined de- 
lights), he made no reference to the letters, nor 
to Tower Cottage or its inmates. Mary herself 
was too shy to break the ice, but wondered at 

88 



ODD STORY OF CAPTAIN DUGGLE 

his silence, and the more because the matter 
evidently had not gone out of his mind. For 
after dinner, when the port had gone round once 
and the proper healths been honored, he said 
across the table to Mr. Penrose: 

"We were talking the other day of the Tower, 
on the heath, you know, by old Saffron's cot- 
tage, and none of us knew its history. You 
know all about Inkston from time out o' mind. 
Have you got any story about it?" 

Mr. Penrose practiced as a solicitor in London, 
but lived in a little old house near the Ire- 
chesters' in the village street, and devoted his 
leisure to the antiquities and topography of the 
neighborhood; his lore was plentiful and curi- 
ous, if not important. He was a small, neat old 
fellow, with white whiskers of the antique cut, 
a thin voice, and a dry cackling laugh. 

"There was a story about it, and one quite 
fit for Christmas evening, if you're in the mood 
to hear it." 

The thin voice was penetrating. At the 
promise of a story silence fell on the company, 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

and Mr. Penrose told his tale, vouching as his 
authority an erstwhile "oldest inhabitant," now 
gathered to his fathers; for the tale dated back 
some eighty years, to the date of the ancient's 
early manhood. 

A seafaring man had suddenly appeared, out 
of space, as it were, at Inkston, and taken the 
cottage. He carried with him a strong smell of 
rum and tobacco, and gave it to be understood 
that his name was Captain Duggle. He was 
no beauty, and his behavior was worse than his 
looks. To that quiet village, in those quiet 
strait-laced times, he was a horror and a por- 
tent. He not only drank prodigiously that, 
being in character and also a source of local 
profit, might have passed with mild censure 
but he swore and blasphemed horribly, spurning 
the parson, mocking at Revelation, even at the 
Deity Himself. The Devil was his friend, he 
said. A most terrible fellow, this Captain 
Duggle. Inkston's hair stood on end, and no 
wonder ! 

90 



ODD STORY OF CAPTAIN DUGGLE 

"No doubt they shivered with delight over it 
all," commented Mr. Naylor. 

Captain Duggle lived all by himself well, 
what God-fearing Christian, male or female, 
would be found to live with him came and went 
mysteriously and capriciously, always full of 
money, and at least equally full of drink ! What 
he did with himself nobody knew, but evil 
legends gathered about him. Terrified way- 
farers, passing the cottage by night, took oath 
that they had heard more than one voice! 

"This is proper Christmas!" a subaltern in- 
terjected into Gertie's ear. 

Mr. Penrose, with an air of gratification, con- 
tinued his narrative. 

"The story goes on to tell," lie said, "of a 
final interview with the village clergyman, in 
which that reverend man, as in duty bound, 
solemnly told Captain Duggle that however 
much he might curse, and blaspheme, and drink, 
and, er, do all the other things that the Captain 
did (obviously here Mr. Penrose felt hampered 
by the presence of ladies), yet Death, Judg- 

91 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

ment, and Churchyard wait for him at last. 
Whereupon the Captain, emitting an inconceiv- 
ably terrific imprecation, which no one ever 
dared to repeat and which consequently is lost 
to tradition, declared that the first he'd never 
feared, the second was parson's gabble, and as to 
the third, never should his dead toes be nearer 
any church than for the last forty years his living 
feet had been! If so be as he wasn't drowned at 
sea, he'd make a grave for himself!" 

Mr. Penrose paused, sipped port wine, and 
resumed. 

"And so, no doubt, he did, building the Tower 
for that purpose. By bribes and threats he got 
two men to work for him. One was the uncle 
of my informant. But though he built that 
Tower, and inside it dug his grave, he never 
lay there, being, as things turned out, carried 
off by the Devil. Oh, yes, there was no doubt! 
He went home one night, a Saturday, very drunk, 
as usual. On the Sunday night a belated way- 
farer, possibly also drunk, heard wild shrieks 
and saw a strange red glow through the window 

92 



ODD STORY OF CAPTAIN DUGGLE 

of the Tower, now, by the way, boarded up. 
And no doubt he'd have smelt brimstone if the 
wind hadn't set the wrong way! Anyhow Cap- 
tain Duggle was never seen again by morta] 
eyes, at Inkston, at all events. Alter a time the 
landlord of the cottage screwed up his courage 
to resume possession; the Captain had only a 
lease of it, though he built the Tower at his own 
charges, and, I believe, without any permission, 
the landlord being much too frightened to inter- 
fere with him. He found everything in a sad 
mess in the house, while in the Tower itself every 
blessed stick had been burnt up. So the story 
looks pretty plausible." 

"And the grave?" This question came eagerly 
from at least three of the company. 

"In front of the fireplace there was a big 
oblong hole six feet by three, by four planks 
at the bottom, the sides roughly lined with brick. 
Captain Duggle's grave; but he wasn't in it!" 

"But what really became of him, Mr. Pen- 
rose?" cried Cynthia. 

"The Rising Generation is very skeptical," 
93 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

said old Baylor. "You, of course, Penrose, be- 
lieve the story?" 

"I do," said Mr. Penrose composedly. "I be- 
lieve that a devil carried him off, and that its 
name was delirium tremens. We can guess, 
can't we, Irechester, why he smashed or burnt 
everything, and fled in mad terror into the dark- 
ness? Where to? Was he drowned at sea, or 
did he take his life, or did he rot to death in 
some filthy hole? Nobody knows. But the 
grave he dug is there in the Tower, unless it's 
been filled up since old Saffron has lived there." 

"Why in the world wasn't it filled up before?" 
asked Alec Naylor with a laugh. "People lived 
in the cottage, didn't they?" 

"I've visited the cottage often," Irechester 
interposed, "when various people had it, but I 
never saw any signs of the Tower being used." 

"It never was, I'm sure; and as for the grave, 
well, Alec, in country parts, to this day, you'd 
be thought a bold man if you filled up a grave 
that your neighbor had dug for himself, and such 
a neighbor as Captain Duggle ! He might take 

94 



ODD STORY OF CAPTAIN DUGGLE 

it into his head some night to visit it, and if he 
found it filled up there'd be trouble, nasty 
trouble!" His laugh cackled out rather uncom- 
fortably. Gertie shivered, and one of the subal- 
terns gulped down his port. 

"Old Saffron's a man of education, I believe. 
No doubt he pays no heed to such nonsense, 
and has had the thing covered up," said Naylor. 

"As to that I don't know. Perhaps you do, 
Irechester? He's your patient, isn't he?" 

Dr. Irechester sat four places from Mary. 
Before he replied to the question he cast a glance 
at her, smiling rather mockingly. "I've attended 
him on one or two occasions, but I've never seen 
the inside of the Tower. So I don't know 
either." 

"Oh, but I'm curious! I shall ask Mr. Beau- 
maroy," cried Cynthia. 

The ironical character of Irechester's smile 
grew more pronounced, and his voice was at its 
driest: "Certainly you can ask Beaumaroy, 
Miss Walford. As far as asking goes, there's 
no difficulty." 

95 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

A pause followed this pointed remark, on 
which nobody seemed disposed to comment. 
Mrs. Naylor ended the session by rising from her 
chair. 

But Mary Arkroyd was disquieted, worried 
as to how she stood with Irechester, vaguely but 
insistently worried over the whole Tower Cottage 
business. Well, the first point she could soon 
settle, or try to settle, anyhow. 

With the directness which marked her action 
when once her mind was made up, she waylaid 
Irechester as he came into the drawing-room; 
her resolute approach sufficed to detach Naylor 
from him; he found himself for the moment 
isolated from everybody except Mary. 

"You got my letter, Dr. Irechester? I I 
rather expected an answer." 

"Your conduct was so obviously and punctili- 
ously correct," he replied suavely, "that I 
thought my answer could wait till I met you 
here to-day, as I knew that I was to have the 
pleasure of doing." He looked her full in 
the eyes. "You were placed, my dear col- 

96 



ODD STORY OF CAPTAIN DUGGLE 

league, in a position in which you had no 
alternative." 

"I thought so, Dr. Irechester, but " 

"Oh yes, clearly I I'm far from making any 
complaint." He gave her a courteous little bow, 
but it was one which plainly closed the subject. 
Indeed he passed by her and joined a group that 
had gathered on the hearthrug, leaving her 
alone. 

So she stood for a minute, oppressed by a 
growing uneasiness. Irechester said nothing, but 
surely meant something of import? He mocked 
her, but not idly or out of wantonness. He 
seemed almost to warn her. What could there 
be to warn her about I He had laid an odd 
emphasis on the word "placed" ; he had repeated 
it. Who had "placed" her there? Mr. Saffron? 
Or 

Alec Naylor broke in on her uneasy medita- 
tion. "It's a clinking night, Doctor Mary," he 
observed. "Do you mind if I walk Miss Wai- 
ford home, instead of her going with you in your 

97 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

car, you know? It's only a couple of miles 

and- -" 

"D. y think your leg can stand it?" 

He laughed. "I'll cut the thing off, if it dares 

to make any objection!" 



CHAPTER VII 

A GENTLEMANLY STRANGER 

ON this same Christmas Day Sergeant 
Hooper was feeling morose and discontented; 
not because he was alone in the world (a situa- 
tion comprising many advantages), nor on the 
score of his wages, which were extremely liberal; 
nor on account of the "old blighter's" that is, 
Mr. Saffron's occasional outbursts of temper, 
these being in the nature of the case and within 
the terms of the contract; nor, finally, by reason 
of Beaumaroy's airy insolence, since from his 
youth up the Sergeant was hardened to unfavor- 
able comments on his personal appearance, 
trifling vulgarities which a man of sense could 
afford to ignore. 

No; the winter of his discontent a bitter 
winter was due to the conviction, which had 
been growing in his mind for some time, that he 

99 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

was only in half the secret, and that not the 
more profitable half. He knew that the old 
blighter had to be humored in certain small ways, 
as, for example, in regard to the combination 
knife-and-fork and the reason for it. But, first, 
he did not know what happened inside the 
Tower; he had never seen the inside of it; the 
door was always locked; he was never invited 
to accompany his masters when they repaired 
thither by day, and he was not on the premises 
by night. And, secondly, he did not understand 
the Wednesday journeys to London, and he had 
never seen the inside of Beaumaroy's brown bag 
that, like the Tower door, was always locked. 
He had handled it once, just before the pair 
set out for London one Wednesday. Beau- 
maroy, a careless man sometimes, in spite of the 
cunning which Dr. Irechester attributed to him, 
had left it on the parlor table while he helped 
Mr. Saffron on with his coat in the passage, 
and the Sergeant had swiftly and surreptitiously 
lifted it up. It was very light, obviously empty, 
or, at all events, holding only featherweight 

100 



A GENTLEMANLY STRANGER 

contents. He had never got near it when it 
came back from town; then it always wenli 
straight into the Tower and had the key turned 
on it forthwith. 

But the Sergeant, although slow-witted as well 
as ugly, had had his experiences; he had carried 
weights both in the army and in other institu- 
tions which are officially described as His Ma- 
jesty's, and had seen other men carry them too. 
From the set of Beaumaroy's figure as he ar- 
rived home on at least two occasions with the 
brown bag, and from the way in which he 
handled it, the Sergeant confidently drew the 
conclusion that it was of a considerable, almost 
a grievous, weight. What was the heavy thing 
in it? What became of that thing after it was 
taken into the Tower? To whose use or profit 
did it, or was it, to inure? Certainly it was plain, 
even to the meanest capacity, that the contents 
of the bag had a value in the eyes of the two 
men who went to London for them and who 
shepherded them from London to the custody 
of the Tower. 

101 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

These thoughts filled and racked his brain as 
he sat drinking rum and water in the bar of the 
Green Man on Christmas evening; a solitary 
man, mixing little with the people of the village, 
he sat apart at a small table in the corner, 
musing within himself, yet idly watching the 
company villagers, a few friends from London 
and elsewhere, some soldiers and their ladies. 
Besides these, a tall slim man stood leaning 
against the bar, at the far end of it, talking to 
Bill Smithers, the landlord, and sipping whisky- 
and-soda between pulls at his cigar. He wore 
a neat dark overcoat, brown shoes, and a bowler 
hat rather on one side; his appearance was, in 
fact, genteel, though his air was a trifle raffish. 
In age he seemed about forty. The Sergeant 
had never seen him before, and therefore favored 
him with a glance of special attention. 

Oddly enough, the gentlemanly stranger 
seemed to reciprocate the Sergeant's interest; 
he gave him quite a long glance. Then he fin- 
ished his whisky-and-soda, spoke a word to Bill 

102 



A GENTLEMANLY STRANGER 



Smithers, and lounged across the room to where 
the Sergeant sat. 

"It's poor work drinking alone on Christmas 
night," he observed. "May I join you? I've 
ordered a little something, and, well, we needn't 
bother about offering a gentleman a glass to^ 
night." 

The Sergeant eyed him with apparent dis- 
favor as, indeed, he did everybody who ap- 
proached him but a nod of his head accorded 
the desired permission. Smithers came across 
with a bottle of brandy and glasses. "Good 
stuff!" said the stranger, as he sat down, filled 
the glasses, and drank his off. "The best thing 
to top up with, believe me!" 

The Sergeant, in turn, drained his glass, 
maintaining, however, his aloofness of demeanor. 
"What's up?" he growled. 

"What's in the brown bag?" asked the stranger 
lightly and urbanely. 

The Sergeant did not start; he was too old 
a hand for that; but his small gimlet eyes 

103 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

searched his new acquaintance's face very keenly. 
"You know a lot!" 

"More than you do in some directions, less in 
others, perhaps. Shall I begin? Because we've 
got to confide in one another, Sergeant. A little 
story of what two gentlemen do in London on 
Wednesdays, and of what they carry home in a 
brown leather bag? Would that interest you? 
Oh, that stuff in the brown leather bag! Hard 
to come by now, isn't it? But they know where 
there's still some, and so do I, to remark it in- 
cidentally. There were actually some people, 
Sergeant Hooper, who distrusted the righteous- 
ness of the British Cause, which is to say (the 
stranger smiled cynically) the certainty of our 
licking the Germans, and they hoarded it, the 
villains!" 

Sergeant Hooper stretched out his hand to- 
wards the bottle. "Allow me!" said the stranger 
politely. "I observe that your hand trembles a 
little." 

It did. The Sergeant was excited. The 
stranger seemed to be touching on a subject 

104 



A GENTLEMANLY STRANGER 



which always excited the Sergeant to the point; 
of hands trembling, twitching, and itching. 

"Have to pay for it, too ! Thirty bob in curl- 
twisters for every ruddy disc; that's the figure 
now, or thereabouts. What do they want to do 
it for? What's your governor's game? Who, 
in short, is going to get off with it?" 

"What is it they does, the old blighter and 
Boomery (thus he pronounced the name Beau- 
maroy) , in London?" 

"First to the stockbroker's, then to a bank or 
two, I've known it three even; then a taxi down 
East, and a call at certain addresses. The bag's 
with 'em, Sergeant, and at each call it gets 
heavier. I've seen it swell, so to speak." 

"Who in hell are you?" the Sergeant grunted 
huskily. 

"Names later after the usual guarantees of 
good faith." 

The whole conversation, carried on in low 
tones, had passed under cover of noisy mirth, 
snatches of song, banter, and gigglings; nobody 
paid heed to the two men talking in a corner. 

105 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

Yet the stranger lowered his voice to a whisper, 
as he added: 

"From me to you fifty quid on account ; from 
you to me just a sight of the place where they 
put it." 

, Sergeant Hooper drank, smoked, and pon- 
dered. The stranger showed the edge of a roll 
of notes, protruding it from his breast-pocket. 
The Sergeant nodded, he understood that part. 
But there was much that he did not understand. 
"It fair beats me what the blazes they're doing 
it for" he broke out. 
K "Whose money would it be?" 

"The old blighter's, o' course. Boomery's 
stony, except for his screw." He looked hard 
at the gentlemanly stranger, and a slow smile 
came on his lips, "That's your idea, is it, 
mister?" 

"Gentleman's oia, looks frail, might go off 
suddenly. What then ? Friends turn up, always 
do when you're dead, you know. Well, what of 
it? Less money in the funds than was reckoned ; 
dear old gentleman doesn't cut up as well as they; 

106 



A GENTLEMANLY STRANGER 

hoped! And meanwhile our friend B ! 

Does it dawn on you at all, from our friend 

B 's point of view, Sergeant? I may be 

wrong, but that's my provisional conjecture. 
The question remains how he's got the old gent 
into the game, doesn't it?" 

Precisely the point to which the Sergeant's 
mind also had turned ! The knowledge which he 
possessed that half of the secret and which 
his companion did not, might be very material 
to a solution of the problem; the Sergeant did 
not mean to share it prematurely, without neces- 
sity, or for nothing. But surely it had a bearing 
on the case? Dull-witted as he was, the Sergeant 
seemed to catch a glimmer of light, and mentally 
groped towards it. 

"Well, we can't sit here all night," said the 
stranger in good-humored impatience. "I've a 
train to catch." 

"There's no train up from here to-night." 

"There is from Sprotsfield. I shaU walk 
over." 

The Sergeant smiled. "Oh, if you're walk- 
107 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

ing to Sprotsfield, I'll put you on your way. 
If anybody was to see us, Boomery, for instance, 
he couldn't complain of my seeing an old pal 
on his way on Christmas night. No 'arm in 
that; no look of prowling, or spying, or such 
like! And you are an old pal, ain't you?" 

"Certainly; your old pal let me see your 
old pal Percy Bennett." 

"As it might be, or as it might not. What 
about the " He pointed to Percy Ben- 
nett's breast-pocket. 

"I'll give it you outside. You don't want me 
to be seen handing it over in here, do you?" 

The Sergeant had one more question to ask. 
"About 'ow much d'ye reckon there might be 
by now?" 

"How often have they been to London? Be- 
cause they don't come to see my friends every 
time, I fancy." 

"Must 'ave been six or seven times by now. 
The game began soon after Boomery and I came 
'ere." 

"Then, quite roughly, quite a shot, from what 
108 



A GENTLEMANLY STRANGER 

I know of the deals we my friends, I mean 
did with them, and reasoning from that, there 
might be a matter of seven or eight thousand 
pounds." 

The Sergeant whistled softly, rose, and led the 
way to the door. The gentlemanly stranger 
paused at the bar to pay for the brandy, and 
after bidding the landlord a civil good-evening, 
with the compliments of the season, followed the 
Sergeant into the village street. 

Fifteen minutes' brisk walk brought them to 
Hinton Avenue. At the end of it they passed 
Doctor Mary's house ; the drawing-room curtains 
were not drawn; on the blind they saw reflected 
the shadows of a man and a girl, standing side 
by side. "Mistletoe, eh?" remarked the stranger. 
The Sergeant spat on the road; they resumed 
their way, pursuing the road across the heath. 

It was fine, but overclouded and decidedly 
dark. Every now and then Bennett, to call the 
stranger by what was almost confessedly a nom- 
de-guerre, flashed a powerful electric torch on 

109 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

the roadway. "Don't want to walk into a gorse- 
bush," he explained with a laugh. 

"Put it away, you darned fool ! We're nearly 
there." 

The stranger obeyed. In another seven or 
eight minutes there loomed up, on the left hand, 
the dim outline of Mr. Saffron's abode the 
square cottage with the odd round tower an- 
nexed. 

"There you are!" The Sergeant's voice in- 
stinctively kept to a whisper. "That's what you 
want to see." 

"But I can't see it not so as to get any clear 
idea." 

No lights showed from the cottage, nor, of 
course, from the Tower; its only window had 
been, as Mr. *Penrose said, boarded up. The 
wind there was generally a wind on the heath 
stirred the fir-trees and the bushes into a soft 
movement and a faint murmur of sound. A very 
acute and alert ear might perhaps have caught 
another sound footfalls on the road, a good 
long way behind them. The two spies, or scouts, 

110 



A GENTLEMANLY STRANGER 

did not hear them; their attention was elsewhere. 

"Probably they're both in bed; it's quite safe 
to make our examination," said the stranger. 

"Yes, I s'pose it is. But look to be ready 
to douse your glim. Boomery's a nailer at turn- 
ing up unexpected." The Sergeant seemed 
rather nervous. 

Mr. Bennett was not. He took out his torch, 
and guided by its light (which, however, he took 
care not to throw towards the cottage windows) 
he advanced to the garden gate, the Sergeant 
following, and took a survey of the premises. 
It was remarkable that, as the light of the torch 
beamed out, the faint sound of footfalls on the 
road behind died away. 

"Keep an eye on the windows, and touch my 
elbow if any light shows. Don't speak." The 
stranger was at business his .business now, 
and his voice became correspondingly business- 
like. "We won't risk going inside the gate. I 
can see from here." Indeed he very well could; 
Tower Cottage stood back no more than twelve 

111 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

or fifteen feet from the road, and the torch was 
powerful. 

For four or five minutes the stranger made 
his examination. Then he turned off his torch. 
"Looks easy," he remarked, "but of course 
there's the garrison." Once more he turned on 
his light, to look at his watch. "Can't stop now, 
or I shall miss the train, and I don't want to 
have to get a bed at Sprotsfield. A stiayed 
reveler on Christmas night might be too well 
remembered. Got an address?" 

"Care of Mrs. Willnough, Laundress, Ink- 
ston." 

"Right. Good-night." With a quick turn he 
was off along the road to Sprotsfield. The Ser- 
geant saw the gleam of his torch once or twice, 
receding at quite a surprising pace into the 
distance. Feeling the wad of notes in his pocket 
perhaps to make sure that the whole episode 
had not been a dream the Sergeant turned back 
towards Inkston. 

After a couple of minutes, a tall figure 
emerged from the shelter of a high and thick 

112 



A GENTLEMANLY STRANGER 

gorse bush just opposite Tower Cottage, on the 
other side of the road. Captain Alec Naylor 
had seen the light of the stranger's torch, and, 
after four years in France, he was well skilled 
in the art of noiseless approach. But he felt 
that, for the moment at least, his brain was less 
agile than his feet. He had been suddenly 
wrenched out of one set of thoughts into another 
profoundly different. It was his shadow, to- 
gether with Cynthia Walford's, that the Ser- 
geant and the stranger had seen on Doctor 
Mary's blind. After "walking her home," he 
had well, just not proposed to Cynthia, re- 
strained more by those scruples of his than by 
any ungraciousness on the part of the lady. 
Even his modesty could not blind him to this 
fact. He was full of pity, of love, of a man's 
joyous sense of triumph, half wishing that he 
had made his proposal, half glad that he had not, 
just because it, and its radiant promise, could 
still be dangled in the bright vision of the 
future. He was in the seventh heaven of ro- 
mance, and his heaven was higher than that 

113 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

which most men reach; it was built on loftier 
foundations. 

Then came the flash of the torch; the high 
spirits born of one experience sought an outlet 
in another. "By Jove, I'll track 'em like old 
times!" he murmured, with a low light laugh. 
And, just for fun, he did it, taking to the heath 
beside the road, twisting his long body in and 
out amongst gorse, heather, and bracken, very 
noiselessly, with wonderful dexterity. The light 
of the lamp was continuous now; the stranger 
was making his examination. By it Captain 
Alec guided his steps ; and he arrived behind the 
tall gorse bush opposite Tower Cottage just in 
time to hear the Sergeant say "Mrs. Willnough, 
Laundress, Inkston," and to witness the parting 
of the two companions. 

There was very little to go upon there. Why 
should not one friend give another an address? 
But the examination? Beaumaroy should surely 
know of that? It might be nothing, but, on the 
other hand, it might have a meaning. But the 
men had gone, had obviously parted for the 

114 



A GENTLEMANLY STRANGER 



night. Beaumaroy could be told to-morrow; now 
he himself could go back to his visions and so 
homeward, in happiness, to his bed. 

Having reached this sensible conclusion, he 
was about to turn away from the garden gate 
which he now stood facing, when he heard the 
house door softly open and as softly shut. The 
practice of his profession had given him keen 
eyes in the dark; he discovered Beaumaroy's tall 
figure stealing very cautiously down the narrow, 
flagged path. The next instant the light of 
another torch flashed out, and this time not in 
the distance, but full in his own face. 

"By God, you, Naylor!" Beaumaroy ex- 
claimed in a voice which was low but full of sur- 
prise. "I I well, it's rather late " 

Alec Naylor was suddenly struck with the 
element of humor in the situation. He had been 
playing detective; apparently he was now the 
suspected! 

"Give me time and I'll explain all," He said, 
smiling under the dazzling rays of the torch. 

Beaumaroy glanced round at the house for 
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THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

a second, pursed up his lips into one of the odd 
little contortions which he sometimes allowed 
himself, and said: "Well, then, old chap, come 
in and have a drink, and do it. For I'm hanged 
if I see why you should stand staring into this 
garden in the middle of the night! With your 
opportunities I should be better employed on 
Christmas evening." 

"You really want me to come in?" It was now 
Captain Alec's voice which expressed surprise. 

"Why the devil not?" asked Beaumaroy in a 
tone of frank but friendly impatience. 

He turned and led the way into Tower Cot- 
tage. Somehow this invitation to enter was the 
last thing that Captain Alec had expected. 



CHAPTER VIII 
CAPTAIN ALEC RAISES HIS VOICE 

BEAITMAEOY led the way into the parlor, Cap- 
tain Alec following. "Well, I thought your old 
friend didn't care to see strangers," he said, 
continuing the conversation. 

"He was tired and fretful to-night, so I got 
him to bed, and gave him a soothing draught 
one that our friend Dr. Arkroyd sent him. He 
went off like a lamb, poor old boy. If we don't 
talk too loud we sha'n't disturb him." 

"I can tell you what I have to tell in a few 
minutes." 

"Don't hurry." Beaumaroy was bringing the 
refreshment he had offered from the sideboard. 
"I'm feeling lonely to-night, so I " he smiled 
"yielded to the impulse to ask you to come in, 
Naylor. However, let's have the story by all 



means." 



117 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

The surprise it might almost have been taken 
for alarm which he had shown at the first sight 
of Alec seemed to have given place to a gentle 
and amiable weariness, which persisted through 
the recital of the Captain's experiences how 
his errand of courtesy, or gallantry, had led to 
his being on the road across the heath so late 
at night, and of what he had seen there. 

"You copped them properly!" Beaumaroy 
remarked at the end, with a lazy smile. "One 
does learn a trick or two in France. You 
couldn't see their faces, I suppose?" 

"No; too dark. I didn't dare show a light, 
though I had one. Besides, their backs were 
towards me. One looked tall and thin, the other 
short and stumpy. But I should never be able 
to swear to either." 

"And they went off in different directions, you 
say?" 

"Yes, the tall one towards Sprotsfield, the 
short one back towards Inkston." 

"Oh, the short stumpy one it was who turned 
back to Inkston?" Beaumaroy had seated him- 

118 



CAPTAIN ALEC RAISES HIS VOICE 

self on a low three-legged stool, opposite to the 
big chair where Alec sat, and was smoking his 
pipe, his hands clasped round his knees. "It 
doesn't seem to me to come to much, though I'm 
much obliged to you all the same. The short 
one's probably a local, the other a stranger, and 
the local was probably seeing his friend part of 
the way home, and incidentally showing him one 
of the sights of the neighborhood. There are 
stories about this old den, you know ancient 
traditions. It's said to be haunted, and what 
not." 

"Funnily enough, we had the story to-night 
at dinner, at our house." 

"Had you now?" Beaumaroy looked up 
quickly. "What, all about " 

"Captain Duggle, and the Devil, and the 
grave, and all that." 

"Who told you the story?" 

"Old Mr. Penrose. Do you know him? Lives 
in High Street, near the Irechesters." 

"I think I know him by sight. So he enter- 
tained you with that old yarn, did he? 'And that 

119 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

same old yarn probably accounts for the noc- 
turnal examination which you saw going on. It 
was a little excitement for you, to reward you 
for your politeness to Miss Walford!" 

Alec flushed, but answered frankly : "I needed 
no reward for that." His feelings got the better 
of him; he was very full of feelings that night, 
and wanted to be sympathized with. "Beau- 
maroy, do you know that girl's story?" Beau- 
maroy shook his head, and listened to it. Captain 
Alec ended on his old note: "To think of the 
scoundrel using the King's uniform like that!" 

"Rotten! But, er, don't raise your voice." 
He pointed to the ceiling, smiling, and went on 
without further comment on Cynthia's ill-usage. 
"I suppose you intend to stick to the army, 
Naylor?" 

"Yes, certainly I do." 

"I'm discharged. After I came out of hos- 
pital they gave me sick leave, and constantly 
renewed it; and when the armistice came they 
gave me my discharge. They put it down to 
my wound, of course, but well, I gathered the 

120 



CAPTAIN ALEC RAISES HIS VOICE 

impression that I was considered no great loss." 
He had finished his pipe, and was now smiling 
reflectively. 

Captain Alec did not smile. Indeed he looked 
rather pained; he was remembering General 
Punnit's story: military inefficiency, even mili- 
tary imperfection, was for him no smiling matter. 
Beaumaroy did not appear to notice his disap- 
proving gravity. 

"So I was at a loose end. I had sold up 
my business in Spain; I was there six or seven 
years, just as Captain Captain ? Oh, Crans- 
ter, yes! was in Bogota when I joined up, 
and had no particular reason for going back 
there and, incidentally, no money to go back 
with. So I took on this job, which came to me 
quite accidentally. I went into a Piccadilly bar 
one evening, and found my old man there, rather 
excited and declaiming a good deal of rot; 
seemed to have the war a bit on his brain. They 
started in to guy him, and I think one or two 
meant to hustle him, and perhaps take his money 
off him. I took his part, and there was a bit 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

of a shindy. In the end I saw him home to his 
lodgings he had a room in London for the 
night and, to cut a long story short, we palled 
up, and he asked me to come and live with him. 
So here I am, and with me my Sancho Panza, 
the worthy ex-Sergeant Hooper. Perhaps I 
may be forgiven for impliedly comparing myself 
to Don Quixote, since that gentleman, besides 
his other characteristics, is generally agreed to 
have been mad." 

"Your Sancho Panza's no beauty," remarked 
the Captain drily. 

"And no saint either. Kicked out of the Ser- 
vice, and done time. That between ourselves." 

"Then why the devil do you have the fellow 
about?" 

"Beggars mustn't be choosers. Besides, I've 
a penchant for failures." 

That was what General Punnit had said! 
Alec Naylor grew impatient. "That's the very 
spirit we have to fight against!" he exclaimed, 
rather hotly. 

122 



CAPTAIN ALEC RAISES HIS VOICE 

"Forgive me, but, please, don't raise your 
voice." 

Alec lowered his voice, for a moment anyhow, 
but the central article of his creed was assailed, 
and he grew vehement. "It's fatal; it's at the 
root of all our troubles. Allow for failures in 
individuals, and you produce failure all round. 
It's tenderness to defaulters that wrecks disci- 
pline. I would have strict justice, but no 
mercy, not a shadow of it!" 

"But you said that day at your place that the 
war had made you tender-hearted." 

"Yes, I did, and it's true. Is it hard-hearted 
to refuse to let a slacker cost good men their 
lives? Much better take his, if it's got to be one 
or the other." 

"A cogent argument. But, my dear Naylor, 
I wish you wouldn't raise your voice." 

"Damn my voice!" said Alec, most vexa- 
tiously interrupted just as he had got into his 
stride. "You say things that I can't and won't 

let pass, and " 

123 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

"I really wouldn't have asked you in, if I'd 
thought you'd raise your voice." 

Alec recollected himself. "My dear fellow, 
a thousand pardons ! I forgot I The old gentle- 
man !" 

"Exactly. But I'm afraid the mischief's done. 
Listen!" Again he pointed to the ceiling, but 
his eyes set on Captain Alec with a queer, rue- 
ful, humorous expression. "1 was an ass to 
ask you in. But I'm no good at it, that's the 
fact. I'm always giving the show away!" he 
grumbled, half to himself, but not inaudibly. 

Alec stared at him for a moment in puzzle, 
but the next instant his attention was diverted. 
Another voice besides his was raised ; the sound of 
it came through the ceiling from the room above; 
the words were not audible; the volubility of the 
utterance in itself went far to prevent them from 
being distinguishable; but the high, vibrant, 
metallic tones rang through the house. It was 
a rush of noise, sharp grating noise, without a 
meaning. The effect was weird, very uncom- 
fortable. Alec Naylor knit his brows, and once 

124 



CAPTAIN ALEC RAISES HIS VOICE 

gave a little shiver, as he listened. Beaumaroy 
sat quite still, the expression in his eyes unal- 
tered, or, if altered at all, it grew softer, as 
though with pity or affection. 

"Good God, Beaumaroy, are you keeping a 
lunatic in this house?" He might raise his voice 
as loud as he pleased now, it was drowned by 
that other. 

"I'm not keeping him, he's keeping me. And, 
anyhow, his medical adviser tells me there is no 
reason to suppose that my old friend is not 
compos mentis" 

"Irechester says that?" 

"Mr. Saffron's medical attendant is Dr. Ark- 
royd." 

As he spoke the noise from above suddenly 
ceased. Since neither of the men in the parlor 
spoke, there ensued a minute of what seemed 
intense silence; it was such a change. 

Then came a still small sound, a creaking of 
wood from overhead. 

"I think you'd better go, Naylor, if you don't 
mind. After a performance of that kind he 

125 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

generally comes and tells me about it. And he 
may be, I don't know at all for certain, annoyed 
to find you here." 

Alec Naylor got up from the big chair, but 
it was not to take his departure. 

"I want to see him, Beaumaroy," he said 
brusquely and rather authoritatively. 

Beaumaroy raised his brows. "I won't take 
you to his room, or let you go there if I can help 
it. But if he comes down, well, you can stay 
and see him. It may get me into a scrape, but 
that doesn't matter much." 

"My point of view is " 

"My dear fellow, I know your point of view 
perfectly. It is that you are personally responsi- 
ble for the universe, apparently just because you 
wear a uniform." 

No other sound had come from above or from 
the stairs, but the door now opened suddenly, 
and Mr. Saffron stood on the threshold. He 
wore slippers, a pair of checked trousers, and 
his bedroom jacket of pale blue; in addition, the 
gray shawl, which he wore on his walks, was 

126 



CAPTAIN ALEC RAISES HIS VOICE 

again swathed closely round him. Only his right 
arm was free from it; in his hand was a silver 
bedroom candlestick. From his pale face and 
under his snowy hair his blue eyes gleamed 
brightly. As Alec first caught sight of him, he 
was smiling happily, and he called out tri- 
umphantly: "That was a good one! That went 
well, Hector!" 

Then he saw Alec's tall figure by the fire. He 
grew grave, closed the door carefully, and ad- 
vanced to the table, on which he set down the 
candlestick. After a momentary look at Alec, 
he turned his gaze inquiringly towards Beau- 
maroy. 

"I'm afraid we're keeping it up rather late, 
sir," said the latter in a tone of respectful yet 
easy apology, "but I took an airing in the road 
after you went to bed, and there I found my 
friend here on his way home; and since it was 
Christmas " 

Mr. Saffron bowed his head in acquiescence; 
he showed no sign of anger. "Present your 

127 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

friend to me, Hector," he requested, or ordered, 
gravely. 

"Captain Naylor, sir, Distinguished Service 
Order; Duffshire Fusiliers." 

The Captain was in uniform and, during his 
talk with Beaumaroy, had not thought of tak- 
ing off his cap. Thus he came to the salute 
instinctively. The old man bowed with reserved 
dignity; in spite of his queer get-up he bore 
himself well; the tall handsome Captain did not 
seem to efface or outclass him. 

"Captain Naylor has distinguished himself 
highly in the war, sir," Beaumaroy continued. 

"I am very glad to make the acquaintance of 
any officer who has distinguished himself in the 
service of his country." Then his tone became 
easier and more familiar. "Don't let me disturb 
you, gentlemen. My business with you, Hector, 
will wait. I have finished my work, and can rest 
with a clear conscience." 

"Couldn't we persuade you to stay a few 
minutes with us, and join us in a whisky-and- 
soda?" 

128 



CAPTAIN ALEC RAISES HIS VOICE 

"Yes, by all means, Hector. But no whisky. 
Give me a glass of my own wine; I see a bottle 
on the sideboard." 

He came round the table and sat down in the 
big chair. "Pray seat yourself, Captain," he 
said, waving his hand towards the stool which 
Beaumaroy had lately occupied. 

The Captain obeyed the gesture, but his huge 
frame looked awkward on the low seat; he felt 
aware of it, then aware of the cap on his head; 
he snatched it off hastily, and twiddled it be- 
tween his fingers. Mr. Saffron, high up in the 
great chair, sitting erect, seemed now actually 
to dominate the scene Beaumaroy standing by, 
with an arm on the back of the chair, holding 
a tall glass full of the golden wine ready to 
Mr. Saffron's command; the old man reached up 
his thin right hand, took it, and sipped with 
evident pleasure. 

Alec Naylor was embarrassed; he sat in 
silence. But Beaumaroy seemed quite at his 
ease. He began with a statement which was, 
in its literal form, no falsehood; but that was 

129 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

about all that could be said for it on the score 
of veracity. "Before you came in, sir, we were 
just speaking of uniforms. Do you remember 
seeing our blue Air Force uniform when we 
were in town last week? I remember that you 
expressed approval of it." 

In any case the topic was very successful. 
Mr. Saffron embraced it with eagerness; with 
much animation he discussed the merits, whether 
practical or decorative, of various uniforms 
field-gray, khaki, horizon blue, Air Force blue, 
and a dozen others worn by various armies, 
corps, and services. Alec was something of an 
enthusiast in this line too; he soon forgot his 
embarrassment, and joined in the conversation 
freely, though with a due respect to the obvious 
thoroughness of Mr. Saffron's information. 
Watching the pair with an amused smile, Beau- 
maroy contented himself with putting in, here 
and there, what may be called a conjunctive ob- 
servation just enough to give the topic a new 
start. 

After a quarter of an hour of this pleasant 
130 



CAPTAIN ALEC RAISES HIS VOICE 

conversation, for such all three seemed to find 
it, Mr. Saffron finished his wine, handed the 
glass to Beaumaroy, and took a cordial leave 
of Alec Naylor. "It's time for me to be in 
bed, but don't hurry away, Captain. You won't 
disturb me, I'm a good sleeper. Good-bye. I 
sha'n't want you any more to-night, Hector." 

Beaumaroy handed him his candle again, and 
held the door open for him as he went out. 

Alec Naylor clapped his cap back on his head. 
"I'm off too," he said abruptly. 

"Well, you insisted on seeing him, and you've 
seen him. What about it now?" asked Beau- 
maroy. t 

Alec eyed him with a puzzled baffled suspi- 
cion. "You switched him on to that subject on 
purpose, and by means of something uncommon 
like a lie." 

"A little artifice! I knew it would interest 
you, and it's quite one of his hobbies. I don't 
know much about his past life, but I think he 
must have had something to do with military 
tailoring. A designer at the War Office, per- 

131 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

haps." Beaumaroy gave a low laugh, rather 
mocking and malicious. "Still, that doesn't 
prove a man mad, does it? Perhaps it ought to, 
but in general opinion it doesn't, any more than 
reciting poetry in bed does." 

"Do you mean to tell me that he was reciimg 
poetry when " 

"Well, it couldn't have sounded worse if he 
had been, could it?" 

Now he was openly laughing at the Captain's 
angry bewilderment. He knew that Alec Nay- 
lor did not believe a word of what he was saying 
or suggesting; but yet Alec could not pass his 
guard, nor wing a shaft between the joints of 
his harness. If he got into difficulties through 
heedlessness, at least he made a good shot at 
getting out of them again by his dexterity. 
Only, of course, suspicion remains suspicion, 
even though it be, for the moment, baffled. And 
it could not be denied that suspicions were piling 
up Captain Alec, Irechester, even, on one little 
point, Doctor Mary! And possibly those two 
fellows outside one of them short and stumpy 

132 



CAPTAIN ALEC RAISES HIS VOICE 

had their suspicions too, though these might 
be directed to another point. He gave one of 
his little shrugs as he followed the silent Captain 
to the garden gate. 

"Good-night. Thanks again. And I hope we 
shall meet soon," he said cheerily. 

Alec gave him a brief "Good-night" and a 
particularly formal military salute. 



CHAPTER IX 

DOCTOR MARY'S ULTIMATUM 

EVEN Captain Alec was not superior to the 
foibles which beset humanity. If it had been 
his conception of duty which impelled him to 
take a high line with Beaumaroy, there was now 
in his feelings, although he did not realize the 
fact, an alloy of less precious metal. He had 
demanded an ordeal, a test that he should see 
Mr. Saffron and judge for himself. The test 
had been accepted; he had been worsted in it. 
His suspicions were not laid to rest far from 
it; but they were left unjustified and uncon- 
firmed. He had nothing to go upon, nothing to 
show. He had been baffled, and, moreover, 
bantered and almost openly ridiculed. In fact, 
Beaumaroy had been too many for him, the 
subtle rogue! 

This conception of the case colored his looks 
134 



DOCTOR MARY'S ULTIMATUM 

and pointed his words when Tower Cottage and 
its occupants were referred to, and most mark- 
edly when he spoke of them to Cynthia Wai- 
ford; for in talking to her he naturally allowed 
himself greater freedom than he did with 
others; talking to her had become like talking 
to himself, so completely did she give him back 
what he bestowed on her, and re-echc to his mind 
its own voice. Such perfect sympathy induces 
a free outpouring of inner thoughts, and rein- 
forces the opinions of which it so unreservedly 
approves. 

Cynthia did more than elicit and reinforce 
Captain Alec's opinion; she also disseminated it 
at Old Place, at the Irechesters', at Doctor 
Mary's, through all the little circle in which she 
was now a constant and a favorite figure. In 
the light of her experience of men, so limited 
and so sharply contrasted, she made a simple 
classification of them; they were Cransters or 
Alecs; and each class acted after its kind. 
Plainly Beaumaroy was not an Alec; therefore 
he was a Cranster, and Cranster-like actions 

135 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

were to be expected from him, of such special 
description as his circumstances and temptations 
might dictate. 

She poured this simple philosophy into Doc- 
tor Mary's ears, vouching Alec's authority for 
its application to Beaumaroy. The theory was 
too simple for Mary, whose profession had 
shown her at all events something of the com- 
plexity of human nature; and she was no in- 
fallibilist; she would bow unquestioningly to no 
man's authority, not even to Alec's, much as she 
liked and admired him. There was even a 
streak of contrariness in her; what she might 
have said to herself she was prone to criticize or 
contradict, if it were too confidently or urgently 
pressed on her by another; perhaps, too, Cyn- 
thia's claim to be the Captain's mouthpiece 
stirred up in her a latent resentment; it was not 
to be called a jealousy; it was rather an amused 
irritation at both the divinity and his worshiper. 
His worshipers can sometimes make a divinity 
look foolish. 

Her own interview with Beaumaroy at the 
136 



DOCTOR MARY'S ULTIMATUM 

Cottage had left her puzzled, distrustful and 
attracted. She suspected him vaguely of want- 
ing to use her for some purpose of his own; in 
spite of the swift plausibility of his explanation, 
she was nearly certain that he had lied to her 
about the combination knife-and-fork. Yet his 
account of his own position in regard to Mr. 
Saffron had sounded remarkably candid, and 
the more so because he made no pretensions to 
an exalted attitude. It had been left to her to 
define the standard of sensitive honor; his had 
been rather that of safety or, at the best, that 
of what the world would think, or even of what 
the hated cousins might attempt to prove. But 
there again she was distrustful, both of him and 
of her own judgment. He might be it seemed 
likely one of those men who conceal the good 
as well as the bad in themselves, one of the 
morally shy men. Or again, perhaps, one of the 
morally diffident, who shrink from arrogating 
to themselves high standards because they fear 
for their own virtue if it be put to the test, and 
cling to the power of saying, later on, "Well, 

137 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

I told you not to expect too much from me!" 
Such various types of men exist, and they do 
not fall readily into either of Cynthia's two 
classes; they are neither Cransters nor Alecs; 
certainly not in thought, probably not in con- 
duct. He had said at Old Place, the first time 
that she met him, that the war had destroyed 
all his scruples. That might be true; but it was 
hardly the remark of a man naturally un- 
scrupulous. 

She met him one day at Old Place about a 
week after Christmas. The Captain was not 
there; he was at her own house, with Cynthia. 
With the rest of the family Beaumaroy was at 
his best; gaily respectful to Mrs. Naylor, merry 
with Gertie, exchanging cut and thrust with old 
Mr. Naylor, easy and cordial towards herself. 
Certainly an attractive human being and a 
charming companion, pre-eminently natural. 
"One talks of taking people as one finds them," 
old Naylor said to her when they were left 
alone together for a few minutes by the fire, 
while the others chatted by the window. "That 

138 



DOCTOR MARY'S ULTIMATUM 

fellow takes himself as he finds himself! Not 
as a pattern, a failure, or a problem, but just 
as a fact a psychological fact." 

"That rather shuts out effort, doesn't it? 
Well, I mean " 

"Strivings?" Mr. Naylor smiled. "Yes, it 
does. On the other hand, it gives such free play. 
That's what makes him interesting, makes you 
think about him." He laughed. "Oh, I dare 
say the surroundings help too we're all rather 
children old Saffron, and the Devil, and Cap- 
tain Duggle, and the rest of it! The brain isn't 
overworked down here; we like to find an out- 
let." 

"That means you think there's nothing in it 
really?" 

"In what?" retorted old Naylor briskly. 

But Mary was equal to him. "My lips are 
sealed professionally," she smiled. "But hasn't 
your son said anything?" 

"Admirable woman! Yes, Alec has said a 
few things; and the young lady gives it us, too. 
For my part, I think Beaumaroy's just drifting. 

139 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

He'll take the gifts of fortune if they come, but 
I don't think there's much deliberate design 
about it. Ah, now you're smiling in a superior 
way, Doctor Mary! I charge you with secret 
knowledge. Or are you puffed up by having 
superseded Irechester?" 

"I was never so distressed and well, embar- 
rassed at anything in my life." 

"Well, that, if you ask me, does look a bit 
queer. Sort of fits in with Alec's theory." 

Mary's discretion gave way a little. "Or with 
Mr. Beaumaroy's? Which is that I'm a fool, 
I think." 

"And that Irechester isn't?" His eyes 
twinkled in good-humored malice. "Talking of 
what this and that person thinks of himself and 
of others, Irechester thinks himself something of 
an alienist." 

Her eyes grew suddenly alert. "He's never 
talked to me on that subject." 

"Perhaps he doesn't think it's one of yours. 
Perhaps your studies haven't lain that way? 

140 



DOCTOR MARY'S ULTIMATUM 

After all, no medical man can study every- 
thing!" 

"Don't be naughty, Mr. Naylor!" said Doctor 
Mary. 

"He tells me that, in cases where the condi- 
tion the condition I think he called it is in 
doubt, he fixes his attention on the eyes and the 
voice. He couldn't give me any very clear de- 
scription of what he found in the eyes. I couldn't 
quite make out, anyhow, what he meant, unless 
it was a sort of meaninglessness, a want of what 
you might call intellectual focus. Do you fol- 
low me?" 

"Yes, I think I know what you mean." 

"But with regard to the voice I distinctly; 
remember that he used the word 'metallic.' ' 

"Why, that's the word Cynthia used " 

"I dare say it is. It's the word Alec used in 
describing the voice in which old Mr. Saffron 
recited his poem, or whatever it was, in bed." 

"But I've talked to Mr. Saffron; his voice 
isn't like that; it's a little high, but full and 
rather melodious." 

141 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

"Oh, well then " He spread out his hands, 

as though acknowledging a check. "Still, the 
voice described as metallic seems to have been 
Mr. Saffron's; at a certain moment at least. 
As a merely medical question of some interest, 
I wonder if such a symptom or sign of er 
irritability could be intermittent, coming and go- 
ing with the er fits! Irechester didn't say 
anything on that point. Have you any opinion?" 

"None. I don't know. I should like to ask 
Dr. Irechester." Then, with a sudden smile, she 
amended, "No, I shouldn't!" 

"And why not, pray? Professional eti- 
quette?" 

"No, pride. Dr. Irechester laughed at me. 
I think I see why now; and perhaps why Mr. 

Beaumaroy " She broke off abruptly, the 

slightest gesture of her hand warning Naylor 
also to be silent. 

Having said good-bye to his friends by the 
window, Beaumaroy was sauntering across the 
room to pay the like courtesy to herself and 
Naylor. Mary rose to her feet; there was an 

142 



DOCTOR MARY'S ULTIMATUM 

air of decision about her, and she addressed 
Beaumaroy almost before he was within speaking 
distance as it is generally reckoned in society. 

"If you're going home, Mr. Beaumaroy, shall 
we walk together? It's time I was off, too." 

Beaumaroy looked a little surprised, but un- 
doubtedly pleased. "Well, now, what a delight- 
ful way of prolonging a delightful visit. I'm 
truly grateful, Dr. Arkroyd." 

"Oh, you needn't be!" said Mary with a little 
toss of her head. 

Naylor watched them with amusement. "He'll 
catch it on that walk!" he was thinking. "She's 
going to let him have it! I wish I could be 
there to hear." He spoke to them openly: "I'm 
sorry you must both go, but, since you must, 
go together. Your walk will be much pleas- 
anter." 

Mary understood him well enough, and gave 
him a flash from her eyes. But Beaumaroy 's 
face betrayed nothing, as he murmured politely: 
"To me, at all events, Mr. Naylor." 

Naylor was not wrong as to Mary's mood 
143 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 



and purpose. But she did not find it easy to 
begin. Pretty quick at a retort herself, she 
could often foresee the retorts open to her in- 
terlocutor. Beaumaroy had provided himself 
with plenty: the old man's whim; the access to 
the old man so willingly allowed, not only to 
her but to Captain Alec; his own candor car- 
ried to the verge of self -betrayal. Oh, he would 
be full of retorts, supple and dexterous ones! 
[Ajs this hostile accusation passed through her 
mind, she awoke to the fact that she was, at the 
same moment, regarding his profile (he, too, was 
silent, no doubt lying in wait to trip up her 
opening!) with interest, even with some ap- 
proval. He seemed to feel her glance, for he 
turned towards her quickly so quickly that she 
had no time to turn her eyes away. 

"Doctor Mary" the familiar mode of ad- 
dress habitually used at the house which they 
had just left seemed to slip out without his con- 
sciousness of it "You've got something against 
me; I know you have! I'm sensitive that way, 

144 



DOCTOR MARY'S ULTIMATUM 

though not, perhaps, in another. Now, out 
with it!" 

"You'd silence me with a clever answer. I 
think that you sometimes make the mistake of 
supposing that to be silenced is the same thing 
as being convinced. You silenced Captain Nay- 
lor oh, I don't mean you've prevented him 
from talking! I mean you confuted him, you 
put him in the wrong, but you certainly didn't 
convince him." 

"Of what?" he asked in a tone of surprise. 

"You know that. Let us suppose his idea 
was all nonsense; yet your immediate object was 
to put it out of his head." She suddenly added, 
"I think your last question was a diplomatic 
blunder, Mr. Beaumaroy. You must have 
known what I meant. What was the good of 
pretending not to?" 

Beaumaroy stopped still in the road for a 
moment, looking at her with a rueful amusement. 
"You're not so easily silenced, after all!" he 
said, starting to walk on again. 

"You encourage me." To tell the truth, 
145 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

Mary was not only encouraged, she was pleased 
by the hit she had scored, and flattered by his 
acknowledgment of it. "Well, then, I'll put 
another point. You needn't answer if you don't 
like." 

"I shall answer if I can, depend on it!" He 
laughed, and Mary, for a brief instant, joined 
in his laugh. His sudden lapses into candor 
seemed somehow to put the serious hostile ques- 
tioner ridiculously in the wrong. Could a man 
like that really have anything to conceal? 

But she held to her purpose. "You're a 
friendly sort of man, you offer and accept at- 
tentions and kindnesses, you're not stand-offish, 
or haughty, or sulky; you make friends easily, 
especially, perhaps, with women; they like you, 
and like to be pleasant and kind to you. There are 
men patients, I mean very hard to deal with; 
men who resent being ill, resent having to have 
things done to them and for them, who especially 
resent the services of women, even of nurses 
I mean in quite indifferent things, not merely in 
things where a man may naturally shrink from 

146 



DOCTOR MARY'S ULTIMATUM 

their help. Well, you don't seem that sort of 
man in the least." She looked at him, as she 
ended this appreciation of him, as though she 
expected an answer or a comment. Beaumaroy 
made neither; he walked on, not eyen looking 
at her. 

"And you can't have been troubled long with 
that wound. It evidently healed up quickly and 
sweetly." 

Beaumaroy looked for an instant at his 
maimed hand with a critical air; but he was still 
silent. 

"So that I wonder you didn't do as most 
patients do let the nurse, or, if you were still 
disabled after you came out, a friend or some- 
body, cut up your food for you without provid- 
ing yourself with that implement." He turned 
his head quickly towards her. "And if you ask 
me what implement I mean, I shall answer the 
one you tried to snatch from the sideboard at 
Tower Cottage before I could see it." 

It was a direct challenge; she charged him 
with a lie. Beaumaroy's face assumed a really 

147 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

troubled expression, a thing rare for it to do. 
Yet it was not an ashamed or abashed expres- 
sion; it just seemed to recognize that a trouble- 
some difficulty had arisen. He set a slower pace 
and prodded the road with his stick. Mary 
pushed her advantage. "Your your improviza- 
tion didn't satisfy me at the time, and the more 
I've thought over it, the less have I found it 
convincing." 

He stopped again, turning round to her. He 
slapped his left hand against the side of his leg. 
"Well, there it is, Doctor Mary! You must 
make what you can of it." 

It was complete surrender as to the combina- 
tion knife-and-fork. He was beaten, on that 
point at least, and owned it. His lie was found 
out. "It's dashed difficult always to remember 
that you're a doctor," he broke out the next 
minute. 

Mary could not help laughing; but her eyes 
were still keen and challenging as she said, 
"Perhaps you'd better change your doctor again, 

148 



DOCTOR MARY'S ULTIMATUM 

Mr. Beaumaroy. You haven't found one stupid 
enough!" 

Again Beaumaroy had no defense; his non- 
plussed air confessed that maneuver, too. Mary 
dropped her rallying tone and went on gravely: 
"Unless I'm treated with confidence and sin- 
cerity, I can't continue to attend Mr. Saffron." 

"That's your ultimatum, is it, Doctor Mary?" 

She nodded sharply and decisively. Beau- 
maroy meditated for a few seconds. Then he 
shook his head regretfully. "It's no use. I 
daren't trust you," he said. 

Mary laughed again, this time in amazed re- 
sentment of his impudence. "You can't trust 
me ! I think it's the other way round. It seems 
to me that the boot's on the other leg." 

"Not as I see it." Then he smiled slowly, as 
it were tentatively. "Or would you I wonder 
if you could possibly well, stand in with me?" 

"Are you offering me a a partnership?" she 
asked indignantly. 

He raised his hand in a seeming protest, and 
spoke now hastily and in some confusion. "Not 

149 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

as you understand it. I mean, as you probably 
understand it, from what I said to you that night 
at the Cottage. There are features in the well, 
there are things that I admit have have passed 
through my mind, without being what you'd call 
settled. Oh, yes, without being in the least 
settled. Well, for the sake of your help and 
er cooperation, those those features could be 
dropped. And then perhaps if only your 

your rules and etiquette " 

Mary scornfully cut short his embarrassed 
pleadings. "There's a good deal more than rules 
and etiquette involved. It seems to me that it's 
a matter of common honesty rather than of rules 

and etiquette " 

"Yes, but you don't understand " 

She cut him short again. "Mr. Beaumaroy, 
after this, after your suggestion and all the rest 
of it, there must be an end of all relations be- 
tween us professionally and, so far as possible, 
socially too, please. I don't want to be self- 
righteous, but I feel bound to say that you have 
misunderstood my character." 

150 



DOCTOR MARY'S ULTIMATUM 

Her voice quivered at the end, and almost 
broke. She was full of a grieved indignation. 

They had come opposite the cottage now. 
Beaumaroy stopped, and stood facing her. 
Though dusk had fallen, it was a clear evening; 
she could see his face plainly; obviously he was 
in deep distress. "I wouldn't have offended you 
for the world. I I like you far too much, 
Doctor Mary." 

"You imputed your own standards to me. 
That's all there is about it, I suppose," she said 
in a scornful sadness. He looked very miser- 
able. Compassion, and the old odd attraction 
which he had for her, stirred in her mind. Her 
voice grew soft, and she held out her hand. "I'm 
sorry too, very sorry, that it should have to be 
good-bye between us." 

Beaumaroy did not take her proffered hand, 
or even seem to notice it. He stood quite still. 

"I'm damned if I know what I'm to do now!" 

Close on the heels of his despairing confes- 
sion of helplessness for such it undoubtedly 
seemed to me came the noise of an opening 

151 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

door, a light from the inside of the Cottage, a 
patter of quick-moving feet on the flagged path 
that led to the garden gate. The next moment 
Mary saw the figure of Mr. Saffron, in his old 
gray shawl, standing at the gate. He was wav- 
ing his right arm in an excited way, and his 
hand held a large sheet of paper. 

"Hector! Hector, my dear, dear boy! The 
news has come at last. You can be off to- 
morrow !" 

Beaumaroy started violently, glanced at his 
old friend's strange figure, glanced once, too, at 
Mary; the expression of utter despair which his 
face had worn seemed modified into one of 
humorous bewilderment. 

"Yes, yes, you can start to-morrow for 
Morocco, my dear boy!" cried old Mr. Saffron. 

Beaumaroy lifted his hat to her, cried, "I'm 
coming, sir!" turned on his heel, and strode 
quickly up to Mr. Saffron. She watched him 
open the gate and take the old gentleman by 
the arm; she heard the murmur of his voice 
speaking soft accents as the pair walked up the 

152 



DOCTOR MARY'S ULTIMATUM 

path together. They passed into the house, and 
the door was shut. 

Mary stood where she was for a moment, then 
moved slowly, hesitatingly, yet as though under 
a lure which she could not resist. Just outside 
the gate lay something that gleamed white 
through the darkness. It was the sheet of paper. 
Mr. Saffron had dropped it in his excitement, 
and Beaumaroy had not noticed. 

Mary stole forward and picked it up stealthily; 
she was incapable of resisting her curiosity or 
even of stopping to think about her action. She 
held it up to what light there was, and strained 
her eyes to examine it. So far as she could see, 
it was covered with dots, dashes, lines, queerly 
drawn geometrical figures a mass of meaning- 
less hieroglyphics. She dropped it again where 
she had found it, and made off home with guilty 
swiftness. 

Yes, there had been, this time, a distinctly 
metallic ring in old Mr. Saffron's voice. 



158 



CHAPTER X 
THE MAGICAL WORD MOROCCO! 

WHEN Mary arrived home, she found Cyn- 
thia and Captain Alec still in possession of the 
drawing-room; their manner accused her legiti- 
mate entry into the room of being an outrageous 
intrusion. She took no heed of that, and indeed 
little heed of them. To tell the truth, she was 
ashamed to confess, but it was the truth, she 
felt rather tired of them that evening. Their 
affair deserved every laudatory epithet, except 
that of interesting; so she declared peevishly 
within herself as she tried to join in conversa- 
tion with them. It was no use. They talked on, 
and in justice to them it may be urged that they 
were fully as bored with Mary as she was with 
them; so naturally their talents did not shine 
their brightest. But they had plenty to say to 
one another, and dutifully threw in a question 

154 



THE MAGICAL WORD MOROCCO! 

or a reference to Mary every now and then. Sit- 
ting apart at the other end of the long low room 
it ran through the whole depth of her old- 
fashioned dwelling she barely heeded and 
barely answered. They smiled at one another 
and were glad. 

She was very tired; her feelings were wounded, 
her nerves on edge; she could not even attempt 
any cool train of reasoning. The outcome of 
her talk with Beaumaroy filled her mind rather 
than the matter of it; and, more even than that, 
the figure of the man seemed to be with her, 
almost to stand before her, with his queer alterna- 
tions of despair and mirth, of defiance and 
pleading, of derision and alarm. One moment 
she was intensely irritated with him; in the next 
she half forgave the plaintive image which the 
fancy of her mind conjured up before her eyes. 

Her eyes closed she was so very tired, the 
fight had taken it out of her! To have to do 
things like that was an odious necessity, which 
had never befallen her before. That man had 
done well, Captain Alec was quite right about 

155 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

him! Yet still the shadowy image, though thus 
reproached, did not depart; it was smiling at 
her now with its old mockery the kindly mock- 
ery which his face wore before they quarrelled, 
and before its light was quenched in that for- 
lorn bewilderment. And it seemed as though the 
image began to say some words to her, discon- 
nected words, not making a sentence, but yet 
having for the image a pregnant meaning, and 
seeming to her though vaguely and very dimly 
to be the kev to what she had to understand. 

m 

She was stupid not to understand words so full 
of meaning just as stupid as Beaumaroy had 
thought. 

Then Doctor Mary fell asleep, sound asleep; 
she had been very near it for the last ten minutes. 

Captain Alec and Cynthia were in two chairs, 
close side by side, in front of the fire. Once 
Cynthia glanced over her shoulder; the Captain 
had glanced over his in the same direction al- 
ready. One of his hands held one of Cynthia's. 
It was well to be sure that Mary was asleep, 
really asleep. 

156 



THE MAGICAL WORD MOROCCO! 

She had gone to sleep on the name of Beau- 
inaroy; on it she awoke. It came from Captain 
Alec's lips. He was standing on the hearthrug 
with his arm round Cynthia's waist, and his other 
hand raising one of hers to his lips. He looked 
admirably handsome strong, protecting, de- 
voted. And Cynthia, in her fragile appealing 
prettiness, was a delicious foil, a perfect com- 
plement to the picture. But now, under stress 
of emotion small blame to a man who was 
making a vow of eternal fidelity! under stress 
of emotion, as, on a previous occasion, under that 
of indignation, the Captain had raised his voice! 

"Yes, against all the scoundrels in the world, 
whether they're called Cranster or Beaumaroy !" 
he said. 

Mary's eyes opened. She sat up. "Cranster 
and Beaumaroy?" They were the words which 
her ears had caught. "What in the world has 

Mr. Beaumaroy to do with " But she broke 

off, as she saw the couple by the fire. "But 
what are you two doing?" 

157 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

Cynthia broke away from her lover, and ran 
to her friend with joyous avowals. 

"I must have been sound asleep," cried Mary, 
kissing her. Alec had followed across the room 
and now stood close by her. She looked up at 
him. "Oh, I see! She's to be safe now from 
such people?" On this particular occasion 
Mary's look at the Captain was not admiring; 
it was a little scornful. 

"That's the idea," agreed the happy Alec. 
"Another idea is that I trot you both over in 
the car to Old Place to break the news and have 
dinner." 

"Splendid!" cried Cynthia. "Do come, 
Mary!" 

Mary shook her head. "No; you go, you two," 
she said. "I'm tired, and I want to think." She 
passed her hand across her eyes. She seemed to 
wipe away the mists of sleep. Her face sud- 
denly grew animated and exultant. "No, I don't 
want to think! I know!" she exclaimed em- 
phatically. 

158 



THE MAGICAL WORD MOROCCO! 

"Mary dear, are you still asleep? Are you 
talking in your sleep?'* 

"The keyword! It came to me, somehow, in 
my sleep. The keyword Morocco 1" 

"What the deuce has Morocco " Captain 

Alec began, with justifiable impatience. 

"Ah, you never heard that, and, dear Captain 
Alec, you wouldn't have understood it if you 
had. You thought he was reciting poems. 
What he was really doing " 

"Look here, Doctor Mary, I've just been ac- 
cepted by Cynthia, and I'm going to take her 
to my mother and father. Can you get your 
mind on to that?" He looked at her curiously, 
not at all understanding her excitement, perhaps 
resenting the obvious fact that his Cynthia's hap- 
piness was not foremost in her friend's mind. 

With a great effort Mary brought herself 
down to the earth to the earth of romantic love 
from the heaven of professional triumph. True, 
the latter was hers, the former somebody else's. 
"I do beg your pardon. I do indeed. And do let 
me kiss you again, Cynthia darling and you, 

159 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

dear Captain Alec, just once! And then you 
shall go off to dinner." She laughed excitedly. 
"Yes, I'm going to push you out." 

"Let's go, Alec," said Cynthia, not unkindly, 
yet just a little pettishly. The great moment 
of her lif e surely as great a moment as there had 
ever been in anybody's life had hardly earned 
adequate recognition from Mary. As usual, her 
feelings and Alec's were at one. Before they 
passed to other and more important matters, 
when they drove off in the car she said to Alec, 
"It seems to me that Mary's strangely interested 
in that Mr. Beaumaroy. Had she been dream- 
ing of him, Alec?" 

"Looks like it! And why the devil Morocco?" 
His intellect baffled, Captain Alec took refuge 
in his affections. 

Left alone, and so thankful for it, Doctor 
Mary did not attempt to sit still. She walked 
up and down, she roved here and there, smoking 
any quantity of cigarettes; she would certainly 
have forbidden such excess to a patient. The 
keyword; its significance had seemed to come to 

160 



THE MAGICAL WORD MOROCCO; 

her in her sleep. Something in that subcon- 
sciousness theory? The word explained, linked 
up, gave significance that magical word 
Morocco ! 

Yes, they fell into place now, the things that 
had been so puzzling, and that looked now so 
obviously suggestive. Even one thing which she 
had thought nothing about, which had not struck 
her as having any significance, now took on its 
meaning the gray shawl which the old gentle- 
man so constantly wore swathed round his body, 
enveloping the whole of it except his right arm. 
Did he wear the shawl while he took his meals? 
Doctoi Mary could not tell as to that. Perhaps 
he did not; at his meals only Beaumaroy, and 
perhaps their servant, would be present. But 
he seemed to wear it whenever he went abroad, 
whenever he was exposed to the scrutiny of 
strangers. That indicated secretiveness, perhaps 
fear, the apprehension of something. The cau- 
tion bred by that might give way under the in- 
fluence of great cerebral excitement. Unques- 
tionably Mr. Saffron had been very excited when 

161 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

he waved the sheet of hieroglyphics and shouted 
to Beaumaroy about Morocco. But whether he 
wore the shawl or not in the safe privacy of 
Tower Cottage, whatever might be the truth 
about that perhaps he varied his practice ac- 
cording to his condition on one thing Doctor 
Mary would stake her life; he used the combina- 
tion knife-and-fork! 

For it was over that implement that Beau- 
marojr had tripped up. It ought to have been 
hidden before she was admitted to the cottage. 
Somebody had been careless, somebody had 
blundered whether Beaumaroy himself or his 
servant was immaterial. Beaumaroy had lied, 
readily and ingeniously, but not quite readily 
enough. The dart of his hand had betrayed him; 
that, and a look in his eyes, a tell-tale mirth 
which had seemed to mock both her and himself, 
and had made his ingenious lie even at the mo- 
ment unconvincing. Yes, whether Mr. Saffron 
wore the shawl or not, he certainly used the com- 
bination table implement! 

And the "poems?" The poems which Mr. 
162 



THE MAGICAL WORD MOROCCO! 

Saffron recited to himself in bed, and which he 
had said, in Captain Alec's hearing, were good 
and "went well." It was Beaumaroy, of course, 
who had called them poems; the Captain had 
merely repeated the description. But with her 
newly found insight Doctor Mary knew better. 
What Mr. Saffron declaimed in that vibrating, 
metallic voice, were not poems, but speeches ! 

And "Morocco" itself! To anybody who re- 
membered history for a few years back, even 
with the general memory of the man in the 
street, to anybody who had read the controver- 
sies about the war, Morocco brought not puzzle, 
but enlightenment. For had not Morocco been 
really the starting point of the Years of Crisis 
those years intermittent in excitement, but con- 
stant in anxiety? Beaumaroy was to start to- 
morrow for Morocco on the strength of the 
hieroglyphics! Perhaps he was to go on from 
Morocco to Libya; perhaps he was to raise the 
Senussi (Mary had followed the history of the 
war), to make his appearance at Cairo, Jeru- 
salem, Bagdad! He was to be a forerunner, 

163 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

was Mr. Beaumaroy. Mr. Saffron, his august 
master, would follow in due course! With a 
sardonic smile she wondered how the ingenious 
man would get out of starting for Morocco ; per- 
haps he would not succeed in obtaining a pass- 
port, or, that excuse failing, in eluding the 
vigilance of the British authorities. Or some 
more hieroglyphics might come, carrying another 
message, postponing his start, saying that the 
propitious moment had not yet arrived after all. 
There were several devices open to ingenuity; 
many ways in which Beaumaroy might protract 
a situation not so bad for him even as it stood, 
and quite rich in possibilities. Her acid smile 
was turned against herself when she remembered 
that she had been fool enough to talk to Beau- 
maroy about sensitive honor! 

Well, never mind Mr. Beaumaroy! The case 
as to Mr. Saffron stood pretty plain. It was 
queer and pitiful, but by no means unprece- 
dented. She might be not much of an alienist, 
as Dr. Irechester had been kind enough to sug- 
gest to Mr. Naylor, but she had seen such cases 

164 



THE MAGICAL WORD MOROCCO! 

herself even stranger ones, where even higher 
Powers suffered impersonation, with effects still 
more tragically absurd to onlookers. And she 
remembered reading somewhere was it in 
Maudslay that in the days of Napoleon, when 
princes and kings were as ninepins to be set 
up and knocked down at the tyrant's pleasure, 
the asylums of France were full of such great 
folk? Potentates there galore! If she had Mr. 
Saffron's "record" before her, she would expect 
to read of a vain ostentatious man, ambitious in 
his own small way; the little plant of these 
qualities would, given a morbid physical condi- 
tion, develop into the fantastic growth of delu- 
sion which she had now diagnosed in the case 
of Mr. Saffron diagnosed with the assistance 
of some lucky accidents! 

But what was her duty now the duty of Dr. 
Mary Arkroyd, a duly qualified, accredited, re- 
sponsible medical practitioner? With a slight 
shock to her self-esteem she was obliged to con- 
fess that she had only the haziest idea. Had 
not people who kept a lunatic to be licensed or 

165 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

something? Or did that apply only to lunatics 
in the plural? And did Beaumaroy keep Mr. 
Saffron within the meaning of whatever the law 
might be? But at any rate she must do some- 
thing; the state of things at Tower Cottage 
could not go on as it was. The law of the land 
whatever it was must be observed, Beau- 
maroy must be foiled, and poor old Mr. Saffron 
taken proper care of. The course of her medi- 
tations was hardly interrupted by the episode of 
her light evening meal ; she was back in her draw- 
ing-room by half past eight, her mind engrossed 
with the matter still. 

It was a little after nine when there was a 
ring at the hall door. Not the lovers back so 
early? She heard a man's voice in the hall. The 
next moment Beaumaroy was shown in, and the 
door shut behind him. He stood still by it, 
making no motion to advance towards her. He 
was breathing quickly, and she noticed beads of 
perspiration on his forehead. She had sprung 
to her feet at the sight of him, and faced him 
with indignation, 

166 



THE MAGICAL WORD MOROCCO! 

"You have no right to come here, Mr. Beau- 
maroy, after what passed between us this after- 
noon." 

"Besides being, as you saw yourself, very ex- 
cited, my poor old friend isn't at all well to- 
night." 

"I'm very sorry; but I'm no longer Mr. 
Saffron's medical attendant. If I declined to 
be this afternoon, I decline ten times more to- 
night." 

"For all I know, he's very ill indeed, Dr. 
Arkroyd." Beaumaroy's manner was very quiet, 
restrained, and formal. 

"I have come to a clear conclusion about Mr. 
Saffron's case since I left you." 

"I thought you might. I suppose 'Morocco' 
put you on the scent? And I suppose, too, that 
you looked at that wretched bit of paper?" 

"I I thought of it " Here Mary was 

slightly embarrassed. 

"You'd have been more than human if you 
hadn't. I was out again after it in five minutes 
as soon as I missed it; you'd gone, but I con- 

167 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

eluded you'd seen it. He scribbles dozens like 
that." 

"You seem to admit my conclusion about his 
mental condition," she observed stiffly. 

"I always admit when I cease to be able to 
deny. But don't let's stand here talking. 
Really, for all I know, he may be dying. His 
heart seems to me very bad." 

"Go and ask Dr. Irechester." 

"He dreads Irechester. I believe the sight of 
Irechester might finish him. You must come." 

"I can't for the reasons I've told you." 

"Why? My misdeeds? Or your rules and 
regulations? My God, how I hate rules and 
regulations ! Which of them is it that is perhaps 
to cost the old man his life?" 

Mary could not resist the appeal; that could 
hardly be her duty, and certainly was not her 
inclination. Her grievance was not against poor 
old Mr. Saffron, with his pitiful delusion of 
greatness, of a greatness, too, which now had 
suffered an eclipse almost as tragical as that 

168 



THE MAGICAL WORD MOROCCO! 

which had befallen his own reason. What an 
irony in his mad aping of it now! 

"I will come, Mr. Beaumaroy, on condition 
that you give me candidly and truthfully all the 
information which, as Mr. Saffron's medical at- 
tendant, I am entitled to ask." 

"I'll tell you all I know about him, and about 
myself, too." 

"Your affairs and er position matter to me 
only so far as they bear on Mr. Saffron." 

"So be it. Only come quickly; and bring some 
of your things that may help a man with a bad 
heart." 

Mary left him, went to her surgery, and was 
quickly back with her bag. "I'll get out the 



car." 



"It'll take a little longer, I know, but do you 
mind if we walk? Cars always alarm him. He 
thinks that they come to take him away. Every 
car that passes vexes him; he looks to see if it 

will stop. And when yours does " He 

ended with a shrug. 

For the first time Mary's feelings took on a 
169 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

keen edge of pity. Poor old gentleman ! Fancy 
his living like that ! And cars, military cars, too, 
had been so common on the road across the heath. 

"I understand. Let us go at once. You 
walked yourself, I suppose?" 

"Ran," said Beaumaroy, and, with the first 
sign of a smile, wiped the sweat from his brow 
with the back of his hand. 

"I'm ready, Mr. Beaumaroy," said Doctor 
Mary. 

They walked along together in silence for fully 
half the way. Then Beaumaroy spoke. "He 
was extremely excited at his worst when he 
and I went into the cottage. I had to humor 
him in every way; it was the only thing to do. 
That was followed by great fatigue, a sort of 
collapse. I persuaded him to go to bed. I hope 
we shall find him there, but I don't know. He 
would let me go only on condition that I left 
the door of the Tower unlocked, so that he could 
go in there if he wanted to. If he has, I'm afraid 
that you may see something well, something 
rather bizarre, Dr. Arkroyd." 

170 



THE MAGICAL WORD MOROCCO! 

"That's all in the course of my profession." 

Silence fell on them again, till the outline of 
cottage and Tower came into view through the 
darkness. Beaumaroy spoke only once again 
before they reached the garden gate. 

"If he should happen to be calmer now, I hope 
you will not consider it necessary to tell him that 
you suspect anything unusual." 

"He is secretive?" 

"He lives in terror." 

"Of what?" 

"Of being shut up. May I lead the way in, 
Dr. Arkroyd?" 

They entered the cottage, and Beaumaroy 
shut the door. A lamp was burning dimly in 
the passage. He turned it up. "Would you 
kindly wait here one minute?" Receiving her 
nod of acquiescence, he stepped softly up the 
stairs, and she heard him open a door above; 
she knew it was that of Mr. Saffron's bedroom, 
where she had visited the old man. She waited, 
now with a sudden sense of suspense. It was 
very quiet in the cottage. 

171 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

Beaumaroy was down again in a minute. 

"It is as I feared," he said quietly. "He ha 
got up again, and gone into the Tower. Sha] 
I try and get him out, or will you 

"I will go in with you, of course, Mr. Beau 
maroy." 

His old mirthful, yet rueful, smile came on hi 
lips just for a moment. Then he was grav 
and formal again. "This way, then, if yoi 
please, Dr. Arkroyd," he said deferentially. 



CHAPTER XI 

THE CAR BEHIND THE TREES 

MR. PERCY BENNETT, that gentlemanly 
stranger, was an enemy to delay; both constitu- 
tionally and owing to experience, averse from 
dallying with fortune; to him a bird in his hand 
was worth a whole aviary on his neighbor's un- 
rifled premises. He thought that Beaumaroy 
might levant with the treasure; at any moment 
that unwelcome, though not unfamiliar, tap on 
the shoulder, with the words (gratifying under 
quite other circumstances and from quite differ- 
ent lips) "I want you," might incapacitate him 
from prosecuting his enterprise (he expressed 
this idea in more homely idiom less Latinized 
was his language, metaphorical indeed, yet 
terse) ; finally he had that healthy distrust of his 
accomplices which is essential to success in a 
career of crime; he thought that Sergeant 
Hooper might not deliver the goods! 

173 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

Sergeant Hooper demurred ; he deprecated in- 
considerate haste; let the opportunity be chosen. 
He had served under Mr. Beaumaroy in France, 
and (whatever faults Major-General Punnit 
might find with that officer) preferred that he 
should be off the premises at the moment when 
Mr. Bennett and he himself made unauthorized 
entry thereon. "He's a hot 'un in a scrap," said 
the Sergeant, sitting in a public house at Sprots- 
field on Boxing Day evening, Mr. Bennett and 
sundry other excursionists from London being 
present. 

"My chauffeur will settle him," said Mr. Ben- 
nett. It may seem odd that Mr. Bennett should 
have a chauffeur; but he had or proposed to 
have pro hac vice or ad hoc; for this particu- 
lar job, in fact. Without a car that stuff at 
Tower Cottage somewhere at Tower Cottage 
would be difficult to shift. 

The Sergeant demurred still, by no means for 
the sake of saving Beaumaroy's skin, but still 
purely for the reason already given; yet he ad- 
mitted that he could not name any date on which 

174 



THE CAR BEHIND THE TREES 

he could guarantee Beaumaroy's absence from 
Tower Cottage. "He never leaves the old 
blighter alone later than eleven o'clock or so, 
and rarely as late as that." 

"Then any night's about the same," said 
gentleman Bennett; "and now for the scheme, 
dear N.C.O.!" 

Sergeant Hooper despaired of the doors. The 
house-door might possibly be negotiated, though 
at the probable cost of arousing the notice of 
Beaumaroy and of the old blighter himself. 
But the door from the parlor into the Tower 
offered insuperable difficulties. It was always 
locked; the lock was intricate; he had never so 
much as seen the key at close quarters and, even 
had opportunity offered, was quite unpractised 
in the art of taking impressions of locks a thing 
not done with accuracy quite so easily as seems 
sometimes to be assumed. 

"For my own part," said Mr. Bennett with 
a nod, "I've always inclined to the window. We 
can negotiate that without any noise to speak 
of, and it oughtn't to take us more than a few 

175 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

minutes. Just deal boards, I expect! Perhaps 
the old gentleman and your pal Beaumaroy the 
Sergeant spat will sleep right through it!" 

"If they ain't in the Tower itself," suggested 
the Sergeant gloomily. 

"Wherever they may be," said gentleman 
Bennett, with a touch of irritability he was 
himself a sanguine man and disliked a mind 
fertile in objections "I suppose the stuff's in 
the Tower, isn't it?" 

"It goes in there, and I've never seen it come 
out, Mr. Bennett." Here at least a tone of con- 
fidence rang in the Sergeant's voice. 

"But where in the Tower, Sergeant?" 

" 'Ow should I know? I've never been in the 
blooming place." 

"It's really rather a queer business," observed 
Mr. Bennett, allowing himself for a moment, an 
outside and critical consideration of the matter. 

"Damned," said the Sergeant briefly. 

"But, once inside, we're bound to find it! 
Then with the car it's in London in forty 
minutes, and in ten more it's where it's going 

176 



THE CAR BEHIND THE TREES 

to be; where that is needn't worry you, my dear 
Sergeant." 

"What if we're seen from the road?" urged the 
pessimistic Sergeant. 

"There's never a job about which you can't 
put those questions. What if Ludendorff had 
known just what Foch was going to do, Ser- 
geant? At any rate anybody who sees us is 
two miles either way from a police station and 
may be a lot farther if he tries to interfere with 
us ! It's a hundred to one against anybody being 
on the road at that time of night; we'll pray for 
a dark night and dirty weather which, so far 
as I've observed, you generally get in this 
beastly neighborhood." He leant forward and 
tapped the Sergeant on the shoulder. "Barring 
accidents, let's say this day week; meanwhile, 
Neddy" he smiled as he interjected. "Neddy 
is our chauffeur Neddy and I will make our 
little plan of attack." 

"Don't be too generous! Don't leave all the 
V.C. chances to me," the Sergeant implored. 

"Neddy's fair glutton for 'em! Difficulty is 
177 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

to keep him from murder! And he stands six 
foot four, and weighs seventeen stone." 

"I'll back him up from be'ind company in 
support," grinned the Sergeant, considerably 
comforted by this description of his coadjutor. 

"You'll occupy the station assigned to you, my 
man," said Mr. Bennett, with an admirable bur- 
lesque of the military manner. "The front is 
wherever a soldier is ordered to be a fine saying 
of Lord Kitchener's! Remember it, Sergeant!" 

"Yes, sir," said the Sergeant, grinning still. 

He found Mr. Bennett on the whole amusing 
company, though occasionally rather alarming; 
for instance, there seemed to him to be no par- 
ticular reason for dragging in Neddy's predilec- 
tion for murder; though, of course, a man of 
his inches and weight might commit murder 
through some trifling and pardonable miscal- 
culation of force. "Same as if that Captain 
Naylor hit you!" the Sergeant reflected, as he 
finished the ample portion of rum with which 
the conversation had been lightened. He felt 
pleasantly muzzy, and saw Mr. Bennett's clean- 

178 



THE CAR BEHIND THE TREES 

cut features rather blurred in outline. How- 
ever, the sandy wig and red mustache which that 
gentleman wore in his character as a Boxing 
Day excursionist were still salient features even 
to his eyes. Anybody in the room would have 
been able to swear to them. 

Thus the date of the attack was settled and, 
if only it had been adhered to, things might have 
fallen out differently between Doctor Mary and 
Mr. Beaumaroy. Events would probably have 
relieved Mary from the necessity of presenting 
her ultimatum, and she might never have heard 
that illuminating word "Morocco." But big 
Neddy the Shover as his intimate friends were 
wont to call him was a man of pleasure as well 
as of business; he was not a bloke in an office; 
he liked an ample Christmas vacation and was 
now taking one with a party of friends at 
Brighton all tip-toppers who did the thing in 
style and spent their money (which was not their 
money ) lavishly. From the attraction of this com- 
pany not composed of gentlemen only Neddy 
refused to be separated. Mr. Bennett, who 

179 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

was on thorns at the delay, could take it or leave 
it at that; in any case the job was, in Neddy's 
opinion (which he expressed with that massive 
but good-humored scorn which is an appanage 
of very large men), a leap in the dark, a pig 
in a poke, blind hookey; for who really knew 
how much of the stuff the old blighter and his 
pal had contrived to shift down to the Cottage 
in the old brown bag. Sometimes it looked light, 
sometimes it looked heavy; sometimes perhaps 
it was full of bricks! 

In this mood Neddy had to be humored, even 
though gentlemanly Mr. Bennett sat on thorns. 
The Sergeant repined less at the delay; he liked 
the pickings which the job brought him much 
better than the job itself, standing in whole- 
some dread of Beaumaroy. It was rather with 
resignation than with joy that he received from 
Mr. Bennett the news that Neddy had at last 
named the day that would suit his High Mighti- 
ness Tuesday the 7th of January it was, and, 
as it chanced, the very day before Beaumaroy 
was to start for Morocco! More accurately, the 

180 



THE CAR BEHIND THE TREES 

attack would be delivered on the actual day of 
his departure if he went. For it was timed for 
one o'clock in the morning, an hour at which 
the road across the heath might reasonably be 
expected to be clear of traffic. This was an 
especially important point, in view of the fact 
that the window of the Tower faced towards 
the road and was but four or five yards distant 
from it. 

After a jovial dinner rather too jovial in 
Mr. Bennett's opinion, but that was Neddy's 
only fault, he would mix pleasure with business 
the two set out in an Overland car. Mr. 
Bennett whom, by the way, his big friend 
Neddy called "Mike," and not "Percy," as might 
have been expected assumed his sandy wig and 
red mustache as soon as they were well started; 
Neddy scorned disguise for the moment, but he 
had a mask in his pocket. He also had a very 
nasty little club in the same pocket, whereas 
Mr. Bennett, carried no weapon of offense 
merely the tools of his trade, at which he was 
singularly expert. The friends had worked to- 

181 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

gather before; though Neddy reviled Mike for 
a coward, and Mike averred with curses, that 
Neddy would bring them both to the gallows 
some day, yet they worked well together and 
had a respect for one another, each allowing for 
the other's idiosyncrasies. The true spirit of 
partnership! On it alone can lasting and hon- 
orable success be built. 

"Just match-boarding, the Sergeant says it is, 
does he?" asked Neddy, breaking a long silence, 
which indeed had lasted until they were across 
Putney Bridge and climbing the Hill. 

"Yes, and rotten at that. It oughtn't to take 
two minutes; then there'll be only the window. 
Of course we must have a look round first. 
Then, if the coast's clear, I'll nip in and shove 
something up against the door of the place while 
you're following. The Sergeant's to stay on 
guard at the door of the house, so that we can't 
be taken in the rear. See?" 

"Righto!" 

"Then well, we've got to find the stuff, and 
when we've found it, you've got to carry it, 

182 



THE CAR BEHIND THE TREES 

Neddy. Don't mind if it's a bit heavy, do you?" 

"I don't want to overstrain myself," said 
Neddy jocularly, "but I'll do my best with it, 
only hope it's there!" 

"It must be there. Hasn't got wings, has it? 
At any rate not till you put it in your pocket, 
and go out for an evening with the ladies 1" 

Neddy paid this pleasantry the tribute of a 
laugh, but he had one more business question 
to ask: 

"Where are we to stow the car? How far 
off?" 

"The Sergeant has picked out a big clump 
of trees, a hundred yards from the cottage on 
the Sprotsfield side, and about thirty yards from 
the road. Pretty clear going to it, bar the 
bracken she'll do it easily. There she'll lie, 
snug as you like. As we go by Sprotsfield, the 
car won't have to pass the Cottage at all that's 
an advantage and yet it's not over far to carry 
the stun 3 ." 

"Sounds all right," said Neddy placidly, and 
with a yawn. "Have a drop?" 

183 



"No, I won't and I wish you wouldn't, 
Neddy. It makes you bad-tempered, and a man 
doesn't want to be bad-tempered on these jobs." 

"Take the wheel a second while I have a 
drop," said Neddy, just for all the world as if 
his friend had not spoken. He unscrewed the 
top of a large flask and took a very considerable 
"drop." It was only after he had done this 
with great deliberation that ht observed good- 
naturedly, "And you go to hell, Mike! It's dark, 
ain't it? That's a bit of all right." 

He did not speak again till they were near 
Sprotsfield. "This Beaumaroy queer name, 
ain't it? he's a big chap, ain't he, Mike?" 

"Pretty fair, but, Lord love you, a baby be- 
side yourself." 

"Well, now, you told me something the Ser- 
geant said about a man as was (Neddy, unlike 
his friend, occasionally tripped in his English) 
really big." 

"Oh, that's Naylor Captain Naylor. But 
he's not at the cottage; we're not likely to meet 
him, praise be!" 

184 



THE CAR BEHIND THE TREES 

"Rather wish we were! I want a little bit of 
exercise," said Neddy. 

"Well, I don't know but what Beaumaroy 
might give you that. The Sergeant's got tales 
about him at the war." 

"Oh, blast these soldiers they ain't no good." 
In what he himself regarded as his spare hours, 
that is to say, the daytime hours wherein the 
ordinary man labors, Neddy was a highly 
skilled craftsman, whose only failing was a 
tendency to be late in the morning and to fall 
ill about the festive seasons of the year. He 
made lenses, and, in spite of the failing, his 
work had been deemed to be of national impor- 
tance, as indeed it was. But that did not excuse 
his prejudice against soldiers. 

They passed through the outskirts of Sprots- 
field ; Mike to use his more familiar name had 
made a thorough exploration of the place, and 
his directions enabled his chauffeur to avoid the 
central and populous parts of the town. Then 
they came out on to the open heath, passed Old 
Place, and presently about half a mile from 

185 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

Tower Cottage found Sergeant Hooper wait- 
ing for them by the roadsidt. It was then hard 
on midnight a dark cloudy night, very apt for 
their purpose. With a nod, but without a word, 
the Sergeant got into the car, and in cautious 
whispers directed its course to the shelter of the 
clump of trees; they reached it after a few hun- 
dred yards of smooth road and some thirty of 
bumping over the heath. It afforded a perfect 
screen from the road, and on the other side 
there was only untrodden heath, no path or track 
being visible near it. 

Neddy got out of the car, but he did not 
forget his faithful flask. He offered it to the 
Sergeant in token of approval. "Good place, 
Sergeant," he said; "does credit to you, as a be- 
ginner. Here, mate, hold on, though. It's 
evident you ain't accustomed to liquor glasses!'* 

"When I sits up so late, I gets a kind of a 
sinking," the Sergeant explained apologetically. 

Mike flashed a torch on him for a minute; 
there was a very uncomfortable look in his little 
squinty eyes. "Sergeant," he said suavely but 

186 



THE CAR BEHIND THE TREES 

gravely, "my friend here relies on you. He's 
not a safe man to disappoint." He shifted the 
light suddenly on to Neddy, whose proportions 
seemed to loom out prodigious from the sur- 
rounding darkness. "Are you, Neddy?" 

"No, I'm a sensitive chap, I am," said Neddy, 
smiling. "Don't you go and hurt my pride in 
you by any sign of weakness, Sergeant." 

The Sergeant shivered a little. "I'm game. 
I'll stick it," he protested valorously. 

"You'd better!" Neddy advised. 

"AH quiet at the Cottage as you came by?" 
asked Mike. 

"Quiet as the grave, for what I see," the Ser- 
geant answered. 

"All right. Mike, where are them sand- 
wiches? I feel like a bite. One for the Sergeant 
too! But no more flask no, you don't Ser- 
geant! When'll we start, Mike!" 

"In about half-an-hour." 

"Just nice time for a snack oysters and stout 
for you, my darling?" said jovial Neddy. Then 

187 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

with a change of voice "Just as well that 
didn't pass us!" 

For the sound of a car came from the road 
they had just left. It was going in the direction 
of the Cottage and of Inkston. Captain Alec 
was taking his betrothed home after a joyful 
evening of congratulation and welcome. 



CHAPTER XII 

THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

THE scene presented by the interior of the 
Tower, when Beaumaroy softly opened the door 
and signed to Doctor Mary to step forward and 
look, was indeed a strange one, a ridiculous yet 
pathetic mockery of grandeur. 

The building was a circular one, rising to a 
height of some thirty-five feet and having a 
diameter of about ten. Up to about twelve feet 
from the floor its walls were draped with red 
and purple stuffs of coarse material ; above them 
the bare bricks and the rafters of the roof 
showed naked. In the middle of the floor, with 
their backs to the door at which Mary and her 
companion stood, were set two small armchairs 
of plain and cheap make. Facing them, on a 
rough dais about three feet high and with two 
steps leading up to it, stood a large and deep 

189 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

carved oaken armchair. It too was upholstered 
in purple, and above and around it were a canopy 
and curtains of the same color. This strange 
erection was set with its back to the one window 
that which Mr. Saffron had caused to be 
boarded up soon after he entered into occupa- 
tion. The place was lighted by candles two 
tall standards of an ecclesiastical pattern, one 
on either side of the great chair or throne, and 
each holding six large candles, all of which were 
now alight and about half -consumed. On the 
throne, his spare wasted figure set far back in 
the recesses of its deep cushioned seat and his 
feet resting on a high hassock, sat old Mr. Saf- 
fron; in his right hand he grasped a scepter, 
obviously a theatrical "property," but a hand- 
some one, of black wood with gilt ornamenta- 
tion; his left arm he held close against his side. 
His eyes were turned up towards the room; his 
lips were moving as though he were talking, but 
no sound came. 

Such was Doctor Mary's first impression of 
the scene; but the next moment she took in 

190 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

another feature of it, not less remarkable. To 
the left of the throne, to her right as she stood 
in the doorway facing it, there was a fireplace; 
an empty grate, though the night was cold. Im- 
mediately in front of it was, unmistakably, the 
excavation in the floor which Mr. Penrose had 
described at the Christmas dinner-party at Old 
Place six feet in length by three in breadth, 
and about four feet deep. Against the wall, 
close by, stood a sheet of cast iron, which evi- 
dently served to cover and conceal the aperture; 
by it was thrown down, in careless disorder, a 
strip of the same dull red baize as covered the 
rest of the floor of the Tower. By the side of 
the sheet and the piece of carpet there was an 
old brown leather bag. 

Tradition, and Mr. Penrose, had told the 
truth. Here without doubt was Captain Dug- 
gle's grave, the grave he had caused to be dug 
for himself, but which be the reason what it 
might his body had never occupied. Yet the 
tomb was not entirely empty. The floor of it 
was strewn with gold, to what depth Mary could 

191 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

not tell, but it was covered with golden sov- 
ereigns; there must be thousands of them. They 
gleamed under the light of the candles. 

Mary turned, startled, inquiring, apprehen- 
sive eyes on Beaumaroy. He pressed her arm 
gently, and whispered: 

"I'll tell you presently. Come in. He'll 
notice us, I expect, in a minute. Mind you 
curtsey when he sees you!" He led her in, pull- 
ing the door to after him, and placed her and him- 
self in front of the two small armchairs opposite 
Mr. Saffron's throne. 

Beaumaroy removed his hand from her arm, 
but she caught his wrist in one of hers and stood 
there, holding on to him, breathing quickly, her 
eyes now set on the figure on the throne. 

The old man's lips had ceased to move; his 
eyes had closed; he lay back in the deep seat, 
inert, looking half -dead, very pale and waxen in 
the face. For what seemed a long time he sat 
thus, motionless and almost without signs of 
life, while the two stood side by side before him. 
Mary glanced once at Beaumaroy; his lips were 

192 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

apart in that half humorous, half compassionate 
smile; there was no hint of impatience in his 
bearing. 

At last Mr. Saffron opened his eyes, and saw 
them; there was intelligence in his look, though 
his body did not move. Mary was conscious of 
a low bow from Beaumaroy; she remembered 
the caution he had given her, and herself made 
a deep curtsey; the old man made a slight in- 
clination of his handsome white head. Then, 
after another long pause, a movement passed 
over his body excepting his left arm. She saw 
that he was trying to rise from his seat, but that 
he had barely the strength to achieve his pur- 
pose. But he persisted in his effort, and in the 
end rose slowly and tremulously to his feet. 

Then, utterly without warning, in a sudden 
and shocking burst of that high, voluble, metallic 
speech which Captain Alec had heard through 
the ceiling of the parlor, he began to address 
them, if indeed it were they whom he addressed, 
and not some phantom audience of Princes, 
Marshals, Admirals, or trembling sheep-like re- 

193 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

emits. It was difficult to hear the words, hope- 
less to make out the sense. It was a farrago 
of nonsense, part of his own inventing, part (as 
it seemed) wild and confused reminiscences of 
the published speeches of the man he aped, all 
strung together on some invisible thread of in- 
sane reasoning, delivered with a mad vehemence 
and intensity that shook and seemed to rend his 
feeble frame. 

"We must stop him, we must stop him," Mary 
suddenly whispered. "He'll kill himself if he 
goes on like this!" 

"I've never been able to stop him," Beaumaroy 
whispered back. "Hush! If he hears us speak- 
ing he'll be furious, and carry on worse." 

The old man's blue eyes fixed themselves on 
Beaumaroy of Mary he took no heed. He 
pointed at Beaumaroy with his scepter, and from 
him to the gleaming gold in Captain Duggle's 
grave. A streak of coherency, a strand of mad 
logic, now ran through his hurtling words; the 
money was there, Beaumaroy was to take it 
to-day, to-day! to take it to Morocco, to raise 

194 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

the tribes, to set Africa aflame. He was to 
scatter it broadcast, broadcast! There was no 
end to it don't spare it! "There's millions, 
millions of it!" he shouted, and achieved a weird 
wild majesty in a final cry, "God with us!" 

Then he fell tumbled back in utter collapse 
into the recesses of the great chair. His scepter 
fell from his nerveless hand and rolled down the 
steps of the dais ; the impetus it gathered carried 
it, rolling still, across the floor to the edge of the 
open pit; for an instant it lay poised on the 
edge, and then fell with a jangle of sound on the 
carpet of golden coins that lined Captain Dug- 
gle's grave. 

"Quick! Get my Hag I left it in the pas- 
sage," whispered Mary, as she started forward, 
up the dais, to the old man's side. "And brandy, 
if you've got it," she called after Beaumaroy, 
as he turned to the door to do her bidding. 

Beaumaroy was gone no more than a minute. 
When he came back, with the bag hitched under 
his arm, a decanter of brandy in one hand and 
a glass in the other, Mary was leaning over the 

195 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

throne, with her arm round the old man. His 
eyes were open, but he was inert and motionless. 
Beaumaroy poured out some brandy, and gave 
it into Mary's free hand. But when Mr. Saffron 
saw Beaumaroy by his side, he gave a sudden 
twist of his body, wrenched himself away from 
Mary's arm, and flung himself on his trusted 
friend. "Hector, I'm in danger! They're after 
me! They'll shut me up!" 

Beaumaroy put his strong arms about the frail 
old body. "Oh no, sir, oh, no!" he said in low, 
comforting, half-bantering tones. "That's the 
old foolishness, sir, if I may so say. You're 
perfectly safe with me. You ought to trust me 
by now, sir, really you ought." 

"You swear, you swear it's all right, Hector?" 

"Right as rain, sir," Beaumaroy assured him 
cheerfully. 

Very feebly the old man moved his right hand 
towards the open grave. "Plenty plenty! All 
yours, Hector! For for the Cause God's 
with us !" His head fell forward on Beaumaroy 's 
breast; for an instant again he raised it, and 

196 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

looked in the face of his friend. A smile came 
on his lips. "I know I can trust you. I'm safe 
with you, Hector." His head fell forward 
again; his whole body was relaxed; he gave a 
sigh of peace. Beaumaroy lifted him in his 
arms and very gently set him back in his great 
chair, placing his feet again on the high foot- 
stool. 

"I think it's all over," he said, and Mary saw 
tears in his eyes. 

Then Mary herself collapsed; she sank down 
on the dais and broke into weeping. It had all 
been so pitiful, and somehow so terrible. Her 
quick tumultuous sobbing sounded through the 
place which the vibrations of the old man's yoice 
had lately filled. 

She felt Beaumaroy's hand on her shoulder. 
"You must make sure," he said, in a low voice. 
"You must make your examination." 

With trembling hands she did it she forced 
herself to it, Beaumaroy aiding her. There was 
no doubt. Life had left the body which reason 
had left long before. His weakened heart had 

197 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

not endured the last strain of mad excitement. 
The old man was dead. 

Her face showed Beaumaroy the result of her 
examination, if he had ever doubted of it. She 
looked at him, then made a motion of her hand 

towards the body. "We must we must " 

she stammered, the tears still rolling down her 
cheeks. 

"Presently," he said. "There's plenty of time. 
You're not fit to do that now and no more 
am I, to tell the truth. We'll rest for half an 
hour, and then get him upstairs, and and do 
the rest. Come with me!" He put his hand 
lightly within her arm. "He will rest quietly 
on his throne for a little while. He's not afraid 
any more. He's at rest." 

Still with his arm in Mary's, he bent forward 
and kissed the old man on the forehead. "I shall 
miss you, old friend," he said. Then, with gentle 
insistence, he led Mary away. They left the 
old man, propped up by the high stool on which 
his feet rested, seated far back in the great chair, 
hard by Captain Duggle's grave, where the 

198 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

scepter lay on a carpet of gold. The tall candles 
burnt on either side of his throne, imparting a 
far-off semblance of ceremonial state. 

Thus died, unmarried, in the seventy-first year 
of his age, Aloysius William Saffron, formerly 
of Exeter, Surveyor and Auctioneer. He had 
run, on the whole, a creditable course; starting 
from small beginnings, and belonging to a 
family more remarkable for eccentricity than for 
any solid merit, he had built up a good prac- 
tice; he had made money and put it by; he 
enjoyed a good name for financial probity. But 
he was held to be a vain, fussy, self-important, 
peacocky fellow; very self -centered also and (as 
Beaumaroy had indicated) impatient of the 
family and social obligations which most men 
recognize, even though often unwillingly. As 
the years gathered upon his head, these char- 
acteristics were intensified. On the occasion of 
some trifling set-back in business a rival cut 
him out in a certain negotiation he threw up 
everything and disappeared from his native 
town. Thenceforward nothing was heard of him 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

there, save that he wrote occasionally to his 
cousin, Sophia Jladbolt, and her husband, both 
of whom he most cordially hated, whose claims 
to his notice, regard, or assistance he had, of late 
years at least, hotly resented. Yet he wrote to 
them wrote them vaunting and magniloquent 
letters, hinting darkly of great doings and great 
richeB. In spite of their opinion of him, the 
Radbolts came to believe perhaps half of what 
he said; he was old and without other ties; their 
thirst for his money was greedy. Undoubtedly 
the Radbolts would dearly have loved to get hold 
of him and somehow hold him fast. 

When he came to Tower Cottage it was in 
the first year of the war he was precariously 
sane ; it was only gradually that his fundamental 
and constitutional vices and foibles turned to 
a morbid growth. First came intensified hatred 
and suspicion of the Radbolts they were after 
him and his money! Then, through hidden 
processes of mental distortion, there grew the 
conviction that he was of high importance, a great 
man, the object of great conspiracies, in which 

200 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

the odious Radbolts were but instruments. It 
was, no doubt, the course of public events, cul- 
minating in the Great War, which gave to his 
mania its special turn, to his delusion its mon- 
strous (but, as Doctor Mary was aware, by no 
means unprecedented) character. By the time 
of his meeting with Beaumaroy the delusion was 
complete; through all the second half of 1918 
he followed so far as his mind could now fol- 
low anything rationally in his own person and 
fortunes the fate of the man whom he believed 
himself to be, appropriating the hopes, the fears, 
the imagined ambitions, the physical infirmity, 
of that self -created other self. 

But he wrapped it all in deep secrecy, for, as 
the conviction of his true identity grew com- 
plete, his fears were multiplied. Radbolts in- 
deed! The whole of Christendom Principali- 
ties and Powers were on his track. They would 
shut him up, kill him perhaps! Cunningly he 
hid his secret save what could not be entirely 
hidden, the physical deformity. But he hid it 
with his shawl ; he never ate out of his own house ; 

201 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

the combination knife-and-fork was kept sedu- 
lously hidden. Only to Beaumaroy did he 
reveal the hidden thing; and, later, on Beau- 
maroy's persuasion, he let into the portentous 
secret one faithful servant Beaumaroy's un- 
savory retainer, Sergeant Hooper. 

He never accepted Hooper as more than a 
distasteful necessity somebody must wait on 
him and do him menial service ; he was not feared, 
indeed, for surely such a dog would not dare 
to be false, but cordially disliked. Beaumaroy 
won him from the beginning. Whom he con- 
ceived him to be Beaumaroy himself never knew, 
but he opened his heart to him unreservedly. 
Of him he had no suspicion; to him he looked 
for safety and for the realization of his cher- 
ished dreams. Beaumaroy soothed his terrors 
and humored him in all things what was the 
good of doing anything else, asked Beaumaroy's 
philosophy. He loved Beaumaroy far more than 
he had loved anybody except himself in all his 
life. At the end, through the wild tangle of 
mad imaginings, there ran this golden thread of 

202 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

human affection; it gave the old man hours of 
peace, sometimes almost of sanity. 

So he came to his death, directly indeed of a 
long-standing organic disease, yet veritably self- 
destroyed. And so he sat now, dead amidst his 
shabby parody of splendor. He had done with 
thrones; he had even done with Tower Cottage 
unless indeed his pale shade were to hold 
nocturnal converse with the robust and flam- 
boyant ghost of Captain Duggle ; the one vaunt- 
ing his unreal vanished greatness, mouthing 
orations and mimicking pomp ; the other telling, 
in language garnished with strange and horrible 
oaths, of those dark and lurid terrors which once 
had driven him from this very place, leaving it 
ablaze behind. A strange couple they would 
make, and strange would be their conversation! 

Yet the tenement which had housed the old 
man's deranged spirit, empty as now it was 
aye, emptier than Duggle's tomb was still to 
be witness of one more earthly scene and unwit- 
tingly bear part in it. 



203 



CHAPTER XIII 

RIGHT OF CONQUEST 

WHAT has been related of Mr. Saffron's life 
before he ascended the throne on which he still 
sat in the Tower represented all that Beaumaroy 
knew of his old friend before they met indeed 
he knew scarcely as much. He told the brief 
story to Doctor Mary in the parlor. She heard 
him listlessly ; all that was not much to the point 
on which her thoughts were set, and did not 
answer the riddle which the scene in the Tower 
put to her. She was calm now and ashamed 
that she had ever lost her calmness. 

"Well, there was the situation as I under- 
stood it when I took on the job or quite soon 
afterwards. He thought that he was being pur- 
sued; in a sense he was. If these Radbolts found 
out the truth, they certainly would pursue him, 
try to shut him up, and prevent him from mak- 

204 



RIGHT OF CONQUEST 



ing away with his money or leaving it to anybody 
else. I didn't at all know at first what a tidy 
lot he had. He hated the Radbolts; even after 
he ceased to know them as cousins, he remained 
very conscious of them always; they were ene- 
mies, spies, secret service people on his track 
poor old boy! Well, why should they have him 
and his money? I didn't see it. I don't see it 
to this day." 

Mary was in Mr. Saffron's armchair. Beau- 
maroy stood before the fire. She looked up at 
him. 

"They seem to have more right than anybody 
else. And you know you knew that he was 
mad." 

"His being mad gives them no right! Oh, 
well, it's no use arguing. In the end I suppose 
they had rights of a kind; a right by law, I 
suppose though I never knew the law and don't 
want to to shut the old man up, and make him 
damned miserable, and get the money for them- 
selves. That sounds just the sort of right the 
law does give people over other people because 

205 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

Aunt Betsy married Uncle John fifty years ago, 
and was probably infernally sorry for it!" 

Mary smiled. "A matter of principle with 
you, was it, Mr. Beaumaroy?" 

"No instinct, I think. It's my instinct to be 
against the proper thing, the regular thing, the 
thing that deals hardly with an individual in the 
name of some highly nebulous general principle." 

"Like discipline?" she put in, with a reminis- 
cence of Major-General Punnit. 

He nodded. "Yes, that's one case of it. And 
then, the situation amused me. I think that had 
more to do with it than anything else at first. 
It amused me to play up to his delusions. I 
suggested the shawl as useful on our walks and 
thereby got him to take wholesome exercise ; that 
ought to appeal to you, Doctor! I got him the 
combination knife-and-fork; that made him en- 
joy his *neals also good for him, Doctor! But 
I didn't do these things because they were good 
for him, but because they imused me. They 
never amused Hooper, he's a dull, surly, and > 
I'm inclined to believe treacherous dog." 

206 



RIGHT OF CONQUEST 



"Who is he?" 

"Sacked from the Army sent to quod. Just 
a jail-bird whom I've kept loose. But the things 
did amuse me, and it was that at first. But 
then " he paused. 

Looking at him again, Mary saw a whimsical 
tenderness expressed in his eyes and smile. 
"The poor chap was so overwhelmingly grateful. 
He thought me the one indubitably faithful ad- 
herent that he had. And so I was too though 
not in the way he thought. And he trusted me 
absolutely. Well, was I to give him up to the 
law, and the Radbolts, and the jailers of an 
asylum a man who trusted me like that?" 

"But he was mad," objected Doctor Mary 
obstinately. 

"A man has his feelings, or may have, even 
when he's mad. He trusted me and he loved 
me, Doctor Mary. Won't you allow that I've 
my case so far?" She made no sign of assent. 
"Well then, I loved him does that go any better 
with you? If it doesn't, I'm in a bad way; be- 

207 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

cause what I'm giving you now is the strong 
part of my case." 

"I don't see why you should put what you call 
your case to me at all, Mr. Beaumaroy." 

He looked at her in a reproachful astonish- 
ment. "But you seemed touched by by what 
we saw in the Tower. I thought the old man's 
death and faith had appealed to you. It seems 
to me that people can't go through a thing like 
that together without feeling well, some sort 
of comradeship. But if youVe no sort of feeling 
of that kind well, I don't want to put my 
case." 

"Go on with your case," said Doctor Mary, 
after a moment's silence. 

"Though it isn't really that I want to put a 
case for myself at all. But I don't mind owning 
that I'd like you to understand about it before 
I clear out." 

She looked at him questioningly, but put no 
spoken question. Beaumaroy sat down on the 
stool opposite to her, and poked the fire. 

"I can't get away from it, can I? There was 
208 



RIGHT OF CONQUEST 



something else you saw in the Tower, wasn't 
there, and I dare say that you connect it with 
a conversation that we had together a little while 
ago? Well, I'll tell you about that. Oh, well, 
of course I must, mustn't I?" 

"I should like to hear." Her bitterness was 
gone; he had come now to the riddle. 

"He was a King to himself," Beaumaroy re- 
sumed thoughtfully, "but in fact I was king 
over him. I could do anything I liked with him 
I had him. I possessed him by right of con- 
quest. The right of conquest seemed a big thing 
to me; it was about the only sort of right that 
I'd seen anything of for three years and more. 
,Yes, it was and is a big thing, a real thing the 
one right in the whole world that there's no doubt 
about. Other rights are theories, views, preach- 
ments ! Right of conquest is a fact. I had it. I 
could make him do what I liked, say what I liked, 
sign what I liked. Do you begin to see where I 
found myself? I say found myself, because 
really it was a surprise to me. At first I thought 
he was in a pretty small way he only gave me 

209 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

a hundred a year besides my keep. True, he al- 
ways talked of his money, but I set that down 
mainly to his delusion. But it was true that he 
had a lot really a lot. A good bit besides what 
you saw in there; he must have speculated 
cleverly, I think, he couldn't have made it all in 
his business. Doctor Mary, how much gold do 
you think there is in the grave in there?" 

"I haven't the least idea. Thousands? Where 
did you get it?" 

"Oh yes, thousands and thousands. We got 
it mostly from the aliens in the East End ; they'd 
hoarded it, you know; but they were willing to 
sell at a premium. The premium rose up to 
last month; then it dropped a little not much, 
though, because we'd exhausted some ef the most 
obvious sources. I carried every sovereign of 
that money in the grave down from London in 
my brown bag." He smiled reflectively. "Do 
you know how much a thousand sovereigns weigh, 
Doctor Mary?" 

"I haven't the least idea," said Mary again. 
She was leaning forward now, listening intently, 

210 



RIGHT OF CONQUEST 



and watching Beaumaroy's face with absorbed 
interest. 

"Seventeen and three-quarter pounds avoirdu- 
pois that's the correct weight. The first time 
or two we didn't get much they were still shy 
of us. But after that we made some heavy 
hauls. Twice we brought down close on two 
thousand. Once there was three thousand, al- 
most to a sovereign. Even men trained to the 
work bullion porters, as they call them at the 
Bank of England reckon five bags of a thou- 
sand, canvas bags not much short of a foot long 
and six inches across, you know they reckon 
five of them a full load and wouldn't care to 
go far with them either. The equivalent of 
three of them was quite enough for me to carry 
from Inkston station up to the Cottage trying 
to look as if I were carrying nothing of any 
account! One hasn't got tc pretend to be carry- 
ing nothing in full marching kit nor to carry 
it all in one hand. And he'd never trust himself 
in a cab might be kidnapped, you see ! I don't 
know exactly, but from what he said I reckon 

211 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

we've brought down, on our Wednesday trips, 
about two-thirds of all he had. Now you've 
probably gathered what his idea was. He knew 
he was disguised as Saffron and very proud of 
the way he lived up to the character. As Saf- 
fron, he realized the money by driblets turned 
his securities into notes, his notes into gold. But 
he'd lost all knowledge that the money was his 
own made by himself himself Saffron. He 
thought it was saved out of the wreck of his 
Imperial fortune. It was to be dedicated to 
restoring the Imperial cause. He himself could 
not attempt, at present, to get out of England, 
least of all carrying pots of gold coin. But he 
believed that I could. I was to go to Morocco 
and so on, and raise the country for him, taking 
as much as I could, and coming back for more! 
He had no doubt at all of my coming back ! In 
fact it wouldn't have been much easier for me 
to get out of the country with the money than 
it would have been for the authentic Kaiser him- 
self. But, Doctor Mary, what would have been 
possible was for me to go somewhere else, or 

212 



RIGHT OF CONQUEST 



even back to the places we knew of, for no 
questions were asked there put that money back 
into notes, or securities in my own name, and 
tell him I had carried out the Morocco pro- 
gramme. He had no sense of time, he would 
have suspected nothing." 

"That would have been mere and sheer rob- 
bery," said Mary. 

"Oh yes, it would," Beaumaroy agreed. 
"And, if I'd done it, and deserted him, I should 
have deserved to be hanged. That was hardly 
my question. As long as he lived, I meant 
to stick by him; but he was turned seventy, 
frail, with heart-disease, and, as I understand, 
quite likely to sink into general paralysis. Well, 
if I was to exercise my right of conquest and 
get the fruits of conquest, two ways seemed open. 
There could be a will ; you'll remember my con- 
sulting you on that point and your reply?" 

"Did he make a will?" asked Mary quickly. 

"No. A will was open to serious objections. 
Even supposing your evidence which, of course, 
I wanted in case of need had been satisfactory, 

213 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

a fight with the Radbolts would have been un- 
pleasant. Worse than that as long as I lived 
I should have been blackmailed by Sergeant 
Hooper, who knew Mr. Saffron's condition, 
though he didn't know about the money here. 
Even before you found out about my poor old 
friend, I had decided against a will though, 
perhaps, I might have squared the Radbolts by 
just taking this little place and its contents 
and letting them take the rest. That too be- 
came impossible after your discovery. There 
remained then, the money in the Tower. I could 
make quite sure of that, wait for his death, and 
then enjoy it. And, upon my word, why shouldn't 
I ? He'd have been much gratified by my going 
to Morocco; and he'd certainly much sooner that 
I had the money if it couldn't go to Morocco 
than that the Radbolts should get it. That was 
the way the question presented itself to me; and 
I'm a poor man, with no obvious career before 
me. The right of conquest appealed to .me 
strongly, Doctor Mary." 

"I can see that you may have been greatly 
214 



RIGHT OF CONQUEST 



tempted," said Mary in a grave and troubled 
voice. "And the circumstances did enable you 
to make excuses for what you thought of doing." 

"Excuses? You won't even go so far as to 
call it a doubtful case? One that a casuist could 
argue either way?" Beaumaroy was smiling 
again now. 

"Even if I did, men of " 

"Yes, Doctor Mary of sensitive honor!" 

"Decide doubtful cases against themselves in 
money matters." 

"Oh, I say, is that doctrine current in busi- 
ness circles? I've been in business myself, and 
I doubt it." 

"They do men of real honor," Mary per- 
sisted. 

"So that's how great fortunes are made? 
That's how individuals to say nothing of na- 
tions rise to wealth and power! And I never 
knew it," Beaumaroy reflected in a gentle voice. 
His eye caught Mary's, and she gave a little 
laugh. "By deciding doubtful cases against 
themselves! Dear me, yes!" 

215 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

"I didn't say they rose to greatness and 
power." 

"Then the people who do rise to greatness and 
power and the nations don't they go by right 
of conquest, Doctor Mary? Don't they decide 
cases in their own favor?" 

"Did you really mean to to take the money?" 

"I'll tell you as near as I can. I meant to do 
my best for my old man. I meant him to live 
as long as he could, and to live free, unperse- 
cuted, as> happy as he could be made. I meant 
that, because I loved him, and he loved me. 
Well, I've lost him; I'm alone in the world." 
The last words were no appeal to Mary; for 
the moment he seemed to have forgotten her; 
he was speaking out of his own heart to himself. 
Yet the words thereby touched her to a livelier 
pity; you are very lonely when there is nobody 
to whom you have affection's right to complain 
oi loneliness. 

"But after that, if I savv him to his end in 
peace, if I brought that off, well, then I rather 

216 



RIGHT OF CONQUEST 



think that I should have stuck to the money. 
Yes, I rather think so." 

"You've managed to mix things up so !" Mary 
complained. "Your devotion to Mr. Saffron 
for that I could forgive you keeping his secret, 
and fooling me, and all of us. But then you 
mix that up with the money!" 

"It was mixed up with it. I didn't do the 
mixing." 

"What are you going to do now?" she asked 
with a sudden curiosity. 

"Oh, now? Now the thing's all different. 
You've seen, you know, and even I can't offer 
you a partnership in the cash, can I? If I 
weren't an infernally poor conspirator, I should 
have covered up the Captain's grave, and made 
everything neat and tidy before I came to fetch 
you, because I knew he might go back to the 
Tower. On his bad nights he always made me 
open the grave, and spread out the money, make 
a show of it, you know. Then it had to be put 
back in bags the money bags lived in the brown 
leather bag and the grave had to be fastened 

217 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

down. Altogether it was a good bit of work. 
I'd just got it open, and the money spread out, 
when he turned bad a sort of collapse like the 
one you saw; and I was so busy getting him to 
bed that I forgot the cursed grave and the money 
just as I forgot to put away the knife-and- 
fork before you called the first time, and you 
saw through me!" 

"If you're not a good conspirator, it's another 
reason for not conspiring, Mr. Beaumaroy. I 
know you conspired for him first of all, but " 

"Well, he's safe, he's at peace. It can all 
come out now, and it must. You know, and 
you must tell the truth. I don't know whether 
they can put me in prison. I should hardly 
think they'd bother, if they get the mone^ all 
right. In any case I don't care much. Lord, 
what a lot of people'll say 'I told you so bad 
egg, that Beaumaroy!' No, I don't care. My 
old man's safe; I've won my big game after all, 
Doctor Mary!" 

"1 don't believe you cared about the money 
really!" she cried. "That really was a game 

218 



RIGHT OF CONQUEST 



to you, I think, a trick you liked to play on 
us respectables!" 

He smiled at her confidentially. "I do like 
beating the respectables," he admitted. Then 
he looked at his watch. "I must do what has 
to be done for the old man. But it's late hard 
on one o'clock. You must be tired and it's a 
sad job." 

"No, I'll help you. I I've been in hospitals, 
you know. Only do go first, and cover up that 
horrible place, and hide that wretched money 
before I go into the Tower. Will you?" She 
gave a shiver, as her imagination renewed the 
scene which the Tower held. 

"You needn't come into the Tower at all. 
He's as light as a feather I've lifted him into 
bed often. I can lift him now. If you really 
wish to help, will you go up to his room, and 
get things ready?" As he spoke, he crossed 
to the sideboard, took up a bedroom candlestick, 
and lighted it from one that stood on the table. 
"And you'll see about the body being taken to 
the mortuary, won't you? I shall communicate 

219 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

with the Radbolts fully; they'll take charge of 
the funeral, I suppose. Well, he won't know 
anything about that now, thank God!" There 
was the slightest tremor in his voice as he spoke. 

Mary did not take the candle. "I've said some 
hard things to you, Mr. Beaumaroy. I dare 
say I've sounded very self-righteous." He raised 
his hand in protest, but she went on: "So I 
should like to say one different thing to you, 
since we're to part after to-night. You've shown 
yourself a good friend, good and true as a man 
could have." 

"I loved my old man," said Beaumaroy. 

It was his only plea. To Mary it seemed a 
good one. He had loved his poor old madman; 
and he had served him faithfully. "Yes, the old 
man found a good friend in you; I hope you 
will find good friends too. Oh, I do hope it! 
Because that's what you want." 

"I should 5e very glad if I could think that, 
in spite of everything, I had found one here in 
this place even although she can be a friend 
only in memory." 

220 



RIGHT OF CONQUEST 



Mary paused for a moment, then gave him 
her hand. "I know you much better after to- 
night. My memory of you will be a kind one. 
Now to our work !" 

"Yes and thank you. I thank you more 
deeply than you imagine." 

He gave her the candle and followed her to 
the passage. 

"You know where the room is. I shall put 
the the place straight, and then bring him up. 
'I sha'n't be many minutes ten, perhaps. The 
cover's rather hard to fit." 

Mary nodded from the top of the stairs. 
Strained by the events of the night, and by the 
talk to Beaumaroy, she was again near tears; 
her eyes were bright in the light of the candle, 
and told of nervous excitement. Beaumaroy 
went back into the parlor, on his way to the 
Tower. Suddenly he stopped and stood dead 
still, listening intently. 

Mary busied herself upstairs, making her 
preparations with practiced skill and readiness. 
Her agitation did not interfere with her work 

221 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

there her training told but of her inner mind 
it had full possession. She was afraid to be 
alone there in that cottage. She longed for 
another clasp of that friendly hand. Well, he 
would come soon; but he must bring his burden 
with him. When she had finished what she had 
to do, she sat down, and waited. 

Beaumaroy waited too, outside the door lead- 
ing to the Tower. 



CHAPTER XIV 

THE SCEPTER IN THE GRAVE 

SERGEANT HOOPER took up his appointed posi- 
tion on the flagged path that led up to the 
cottage door. His primary task was to give 
warning if anybody should come out of the door ; 
a secondary one was to give the alarm in case 
of interruption hy passers-by on the road an 
unlikely peril this latter, in view of the hour, 
the darkness of the night, and the practiced 
noiselessness with which Mike might be relied 
upon to do his work. Here then the Sergeant 
was left, after being accorded another nip from 
the flask which, however, Neddy kept in his own 
hands this time and a whispered but vigorously 
worded exhortation to keep up his courage. 

Neddy, the Shover, and gentlemanly Mike 
tiptoed off to the window, on the right hand 
side of the door as one approached the house 

223 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

from the road. The bottom of the window 
was about seven feet from the ground. Neddy 
bent down and offered his broad back as a 
platform to his companion. Mike mounted 
thereon and began his work. That, in itself, 
was child's play to him; the matchboarding was 
but lightly nailed on; the fastenings came away 
in a moment under the skillful application of 
his instrument; the window sash behind was not 
even bolted, for the bolt had perished with time 
and had not been replaced. So far, very good! 
But at this early point Mike received his first 
surprise. He could not see much of the in- 
terior; a tall curtain stretched across the entire 
breadth of the window, distant about two feet 
from it; but he could see that the room was 
lighted up. 

Very cautiously he completed his work on the 
matchboarding, handing down each plank to 
Neddy when he had detached it. Then he cut 
out a pane of glass it was all A.B.C. to him 
put his hand in and raised the sash a little; then 
it was simple to push it up from below. But 

224 



THE SCEPTER IN THE GRAVE 

the sash had not been raised for years; it stuck; 
when it yielded to his efforts, it gave a loud 
creak. He flung one leg over the window-sill 
and sat poised there, listening. The room was 
lighted up; but if there were anyone in it, he 
must be asleep, or very hard of hearing, or that 
creak would have aroused his attention. 

Released from his office as a support, Neddy 
rose, and hauled himself up by his arms till he 
could see in the window. "Lights!" he whis- 
pered. Mike nodded and got in on the dais, 
behind the curtain. Neddy scrambled up after 
him, finding some help from a stunted but sturdy 
old apple tree that grew against the wall. Now 
they were both inside, behind the tall curtain. 

"Come on," Mike whispered. "We must see 
if there's anybody here, and, if there isn't, put 
out the light." For on either side of the curtain 
there was room for a streak of light which might 
by chance be seen from the road. 

Mike advanced round the left-side edge of 
the curtain; he had perceived by now that it 
formed the back of some structure, though he 

225 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

could not yet see of what nature the structure 
was; nor was he now examining. For as he 
stepped out on the dais at the side of the canopy, 
his eyes were engrossed by another feature of 
this strange apartment. He stretched back his 
hand and caught hold of Neddy's brawny arm, 
pulling him forward. "See that that hole, 
Neddy?" 

For the moment they forgot the lights; they 
forgot the possibility of an occupant of the room 
which indeed was, save for their own whispers, 
absolutely still ; they stood looking at the strange 
hole, and then into one another's faces, for a 
few seconds. Then they stole softly nearer to 
it. "That's a blasted funny 'ole!" breathed 
Neddy. "Look's like a bloke's " 

Mike's fingers squeezed his arm tighter, evi- 
dently again claiming his attention. "My hat, 
we needn't look far for the stuff!" he whispered. 
An uneasy whisper it was; the whole place 
looked queer, and that hole was uncanny it had 
its contents. 

Yet they approached nearer; they came to the 

226 



THE SCEPTER IN THE GRAVE 

edge and stood looking in. As though he could 
not believe the mere sight of his eyes, big Neddy 
crouched down, reached out his hand, and took 
up Mr. Saffron's scepter. With a look of half- 
scared amazement he held it up for his com- 
panion's inspection. Mike eyed it uneasily, but 
his thoughts were getting back to business. He 
stole softly off to the door, with intent to see 
whether it was locked; he stooped down to ex- 
amine it and perceived that it was not. It would 
be well, then, to barricade it, and he turned 
round to look for some heavy bit of furniture 
suitable for his purpose, something that would 
delay the entrance of an intruder and give them 
notice of the interruption. 

As he turned, his body suddenly stiffened; 
only his trained instinct prevented him from 
crying out. There was an occupant of the room 
there, in the great chair between the tall 
candlesticks on the dais. An old man sat half 
lay there; asleep, it seemed; his eyes were shut. 
The color of his face struck Gentleman Mike as 
being peculiar. But everything in that place was 

227 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

peculiar; like a great tomb & blooming mauso- 
leum the whole place was. Though he had the 
reputation of being an esprit fort, Mike felt 
uncomfortable. Cold and clammy too, the 
beastly place was! 

Still business is business. Letting the mat- 
ter of the unlocked door wait for the moment, 
he began to steal catlike across the floor towards 
the dais. He had to investigate; also he really 
ought to put out those candles; it was utterly 
unprofessional to leave them alight. But he 
could not conquer a feeling that the place would 
seem still more peculiar when they were put out. 

Big Neddy's eyes had not followed his com- 
rade to the door; they had been held by the 
queer hole and its queer contents by the gleam- 
ing gold that strewed its floor, by the mock sym- 
bol of majesty which he had lifted from it and 
still held in his hand, by the oddly suggestive 
shape and dimensions of the hole itself. But 
now he raised his eyes from these things and 
looked across at Mike, mutely asking what he 
thought of matters. He saw Mike stealing 

228 



THE SCEPTER IN THE GRAVE 

across the floor, looking very, very hard at 
something. 

Mute as Neddy's inquiry was, Mike seemed 
somehow aware of it. He raised his hand, as 
though to enjoin silence, and then pointed it in 
front of him, raised to the level of his head. 
Neddy turned round to look in the direction in- 
dicated. He saw the throne and its silent oc- 
cupant the waxen-faced old man who sat there, 
seeming to preside over the scene, whose head 
was turned towards him, whose closed eyes 
would open directly on his face if their lids were 
lifted. 

Neddy feared no living man; so he was accus- 
tomed to boast, and with good warrant. But 
was that man living? How came he up there? 
And what had he to do with the queer-shaped 
hole that had all that gold in it? And the thing 
he held in his own hand? Did that belong to 
the old man up there? Had he flung it into the 
hole? Or (odd fancies began to assail big 
Neddy) had he left it behind him when he got 

229 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

out? And would he, by chance, come down to 
look for it? 

Mike's hand, stretched out from his body to- 
wards his friend, now again enjoined silence. 
He was at the foot of the dais; he was going 
up its steps. He was no good in a scrap, but 
he had a nerve in some things! He was up the 
steps now, and leaning forward; he was looking 
hard in the old man's face; his own was close 
to it. He laid hold of one of the old man's arms, 
it happened to be that left arm of Mr. Saffron's, 
lifted it, and let it fall again; it fell back just 
in the position from which he had lifted it. Then 
he straightened himself up, looking a trifle green 
perhaps, but reassured, and called out to Mike, 
in a penetrating whisper, "He's a stiff un all 
right!" 

Yes! But then, what of the grave? Because 
it was a grave and nothing else; there was no 
getting away from it. What of the grave, and 
what about the scepter? 

And what was Mike going to do now? He 
was tiptoeing to the edge of the dais. He was 

230 



THE SCEPTER IN THE GRAVE 

moving towards one of the high candlesticks, the 
top of which was a little below the level of his 
head, as he stood raised on the dais beside the 
throne. He leant forward towards the candles; 
his intent was obvious. 

But big Neddy was not minded that he should 
carry it out, could not suffer him to do it. With 
the light of the candles well, at all events you 
could see what was happening; you could see 
where you were, and where anybody else was. 
But in the dark left to torches which illumi- 
nated only bits of the place, and which perhaps 
you mightn't switch on in time or turn in the 
right direction; if you were left like that, any- 
body might be anywhere, and on to you before 
you knew it ! 

"Let them lights alone, Mike!" he whispered 
hoarsely. "I'll smash your 'ead in if you put 
them lights out!" 

Mike had conquered his own fit of nerves, not 
without some exercise of will, and had not given 
any notice to his companion's, which was con- 
siderably more acute; perhaps the constant use 

231 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

of that roomy flask had contributed to that, 
though lack of a liberal education (such as Mike 
had enjoyed and misused) must also bear its share 
of responsibility. He was amazed at this violent 
and threatening interruption. He gave a funny 
little skip backwards on the dais; his heel came 
thereby in contact with the high hassock on 
which Mr. Saffron's feet rested. The hassock 
was shifted; one foot fell from it on to the dais, 
and Mr. Saffron's body fell a little forward 
from out of the deep recess of his great chair. 
To big Neddy's perturbed imagination it looked 
as if Mr. Saffron had set one foot upon the 
floor of the dais and was going to rise from his 
seat, perhaps to come down from the dais, to 
come nearer to his grave to ask for his scepter. 

It was too much for Neddy. He shuddered, 
he could not help it; and the scepter dropped 
from his hand. It fell from his hand back into 
the grave again; under its impact the gold coins 
in the grave again jangled. 

Beaumaroy had, by this time, been standing 
close outside the door for about two minutes; 

232 



THE SCEPTER IN THE GRAVE 

he had lighted a cigarette from the candle on 
the parlor table. The sounds that he thought 
he heard were not conclusive; creaks and cracks 
did sometimes come from the boarded-up win- 
dow and the rafters of the roof. But the sound 
of the jangling gold was conclusive; it must be 
due in some way to human agency; and in the 
circumstances human agency must mean a thief. 

Beaumaroy's mind leapt to the Sergeant. Ten 
to one it was the Sergeant! He had long been 
after the secret; he had at last sniffed it out, 
and was helping himself! It seemed to Beau- 
maroy a disgusting thing to do, with the dead 
man sitting there. But that was sentiment. 
Sentiment was not to be expected of the Ser- 
geant, and disgusting things were. 

Then he suddenly recalled Alec Naylor's story 
of the two men, one tall and slight, one short 
and stumpy, who had reconnoitered Tower 
Cottage. The Sergeant had an accomplice, no 
doubt. He listened again. He heard the scrape 
of metal on metal, as when a man gathers up 
coins in his hand out of a heap. ,Yet he stood 

233 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

where he was, smoking still. Thoughts were 
passing rapidly through his brain, and they 
brought a smile to his lips. 

Let them take it ! Why not ? It was no care 
to him now! Doctor Mary had to tell the truth 
about it, and so, consequently, had he himself. 
It belonged to the Radbolts. Oh, damn the 
Radbolts! He would have risked his life for 
it if the old man had lived, but he wasn't going 
to risk his life for the Radbolts. Let the rascals 
get off with the stuff, or as much as they could 
carry! He was all right. Doctor Mary could 
testify that he hadn't taken it. Let them carry off 
the infernal stuff ! Incidentally he would be well 
rid of the Sergeant, and free from any of his 
importunities, from whines and threats alike; it 
was not an unimportant, if a minor, considera- 
tion. 

Yet it was a disgusting thing to do it cer- 
tainly was; and the Sergeant would think that 
he had scored a triumph. Over his benefactor 
too, his protector, Beaumaroy reflected with a 
satiric smile. The Sergeant certainly deserved 

234 



THE SCEPTER IN THE GRAVE 

a fright and, if possible, a licking. These ad- 
ministered, he could be kicked out; perhaps 
oh, yes, poor brute ! with a handful of the Rad- 
bolts' money. They would never miss it, as they 
did not know how much there was, and such a 
diversion of their legal property in no way 
troubled Beaumaroy's conscience. 

And the accomplice? He shrugged his shoul- 
ders. The Sergeant was, as he well knew from 
his military experience of that worthy man, an 
arrant coward. He would show no fight. If the 
accomplice did, Beaumaroy was quite in the 
mood to oblige him. But while he tackled one 
fellow, the other might get off with the money 
with as much as he could carry. For all that 
it was merely Radbolt money now; in the end 
Beaumaroy could not stomach the idea of that 
the idea that either of the dirty rogues in there 
should get off with the money. And it was fool- 
ish to attack them on the front on which they 
expected to be attacked. Quickly his mind 
formed another plan. He turned, stole softly 

235 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

out of the parlor, and along the passage towards 
the front door of the cottage. 

After Neddy had dropped Mr. Saffron's 
scepter into Captain Duggle's grave (had he 
known that it was Captain Duggle's, and not 
been a prey to the ridiculous but haunting fancy 
that it had been destined for, or even oh, 
these errant fancies already occupied by, Mr. 
Saffron himself, Neddy would have been less 
agitated) Mike dealt with him roundly. In 
bitter hissing whispers, and in language suited 
thereto, he pointed out the folly of vain super- 
stitions, of childish fears and sick imaginings 
which interfered with business and threatened its 
success. His eloquent reasoning, combined with 
a lively desire to get out of the place as soon 
as possible, so far wrought on Neddy that he 
produced the sack which he had brought with 
him, and held its mouth open, though with 
trembling hands, while Mike scraped up handful 
after handful of gold coins and poured them 
into it. They were busily engaged on their joint 
task as Beaumaroy stole along the passage and, 

236 



THE SCEPTER IN THE GRAVE 

reaching the front door, again stood listening. 

The Sergeant was still keeping his vigil be- 
fore the door. He had no doubt that it was 
locked; did not Beaumaroy see Mrs. Wiles and 
himself out of it every evening the back door 
to the little house led only on to the heath be- 
hind and gave no direct access to the road 
and lock it after them with a squeaking key? 
He would have warning enough if anyone 
turned the key now. He was looking towards 
the road; a surprise was more possible from that 
quarter; his back was towards the door and only 
a very little way from it. 

But when Beaumaroy had entered with 
Doctor Mary, he had not re-locked the door; 
he opened it now very gently and cautiously, and 
saw the Sergeant's back there was no mistak- 
ing it. Without letting his surprise for he had 
confidently supposed the Sergeant to be in the 
Tower interfere with the instant action called 
for by the circumstances, he flung out his long 
right arm, caught the Sergeant round the neck 
with a throttling grip, and dragged him back- 

237 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

wards into the house. The man was incapable 
of crying out; no sound escaped from him which 
could reach the Tower. Beaumaroy set him 
softly on the floor of the passage. "If you stir 
or speak, I'll strangle you!" he whispered. 
There was enough light from the passage lamp 
to enable the Sergeant to judge, by the expres- 
sion of his face, that he spoke sincerely. The 
Sergeant did not dare even to rub his throat, 
though it was feeling very sore and uncom- 
fortable. 

There was a row of pegs on the passage wall, 
just inside the door. On them, among hats, caps, 
and coats and also Mr. Saffron's gray shawl 
hung two long neck-scarves, comforters that the 
keen heath winds made very acceptable on a 
walk. Beaumaroy took them, and tied his pris- 
oner hand and foot. He had just completed this 
operation, in the workmanlike fashion which he 
had learnt on service, when he heard a footstep 
on the stairs. Looking up, he saw Doctor Mary 
standing there. 

Her waiting in the room above had seemed 
238 



THE SCEPTER IN THE GRAVE 

long to her. Her ears had been expecting the 
sound of Beaumaroy's tread as he mounted the 
stairs, laden with his burden. That sound had 
not come; instead, there had been the soft, just 
audible, plop of the Sergeant's body as it 
dropped on the floor of the passage. It occurred 
to her that Beaumaroy had perhaps had some 
mishap with his burden, or found difficulty with 
it. She was coming downstairs to offer her help. 
Seeing what she saw now, she stood still in 
surprise. 

Beaumaroy looked up at her and smiled. "No 
cause for alarm," he said, "but I've got to go 
out for a minute. Keep an eye on this rascal, 
will you? Oh, and, Doctor Mary, if he tries to 
move or untie himself, just take the parlor poker 
and hit him over the headi Thanks. You don't 
mind, dc you? And you, Sergeant, remember 
what I said!" 

With these words Beaumaroy slipped out of 
the door, and softly closed it behind him. 



CHAPTER XV 

A NORMAL CASE 

WHEN Captain Alec brought his fiancee home 
after the dinner of welcome and congratulation 
at Old Place, it was nearly twelve o'clock. 
Jeanne, however in these days a radiant 
Jeanne, very different from the mournful crea- 
ture who had accompanied Captain Cranster's 
victim to Inkston a few weeks before was 
sitting up for her mistress and, since she had to 
perform this duty which was sweetened by 
the hope of receiving exciting confidences, for 
surely that affair was "marching?" it had been 
agreed between her and the other maids that 
she should sit up for the Doctor also. She told 
the lovers that Doctor Mary had been called for 
by Mr. Beaumaroy, and had gone out with him, 
presumably to visit his friend Mr. Saffron. It 
did not occur to either of them to ask when Mary 

240 



A NORMAL CASE 



had set out; they contented themselves with ex- 
changing a glance of disapproval. What a pity 
that Mary should have anything more to do with 
this Mr. Saffron and his Beaumaroy! 

However there was a bright side to it this 
time. It would be kind of Cynthia to sit up for 
Mary, and minister to her a cup of tea which 
Jeanne should prepare ; and it would be pleasant 
and quite permissible for Captain Alec to 
bear her company. Mary could not be long, 
surely; it grew late. 

So for a while they thought no more of Mary 
as was natural enough. They had so much 
to talk about, the whole of a new and very won- 
derful life to speculate about and to plan, the 
whole of their past acquaintance to review; old 
doubts had to be confessed and laughed at; the 
inevitability of the whole thing from the first be- 
ginnings had to be recognized, proved, and ex- 
hibited. In this sweet discourse the minutes flew 
by unmarked, and would have gone on flying, 
had not Jeanne reappeared of her own accord, 
to remark that it really was very late now; did 

41 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

mademoiselle think that possibly anything could 
have happened to Doctor Arkroyd? 

"By Jove, it is late I" cried the Captain, look- 
ing at his watch. "It's past one!" 

Cynthia was amazed to hear that. 

"He must be very ill, that old gentleman," 
Jeanne opined. "And poor Doctor Arkroyd 
will be very tired. She will find the walk across 
the heath very fatiguing." 

"Walk, Jeanne? Didn't she take the car?" 
cried Cynthia, surprised. 

No, the Doctor had not taken the car; she 
had started to walk with Mr. Beaumaroy; the 
parlormaid had certainly told Jeanne that. 

"I tell you what," said the Captain. "I'll just 
tool along to Tower Cottage. I'll look out for 
Doctor Mary on the road, and give her a lift 
back if I meet her. If I don't, I can stop at 
the cottage and get Beaumaroy to tell her that 
I'm there, and can wait to bring her home as 
soon as she's ready. You'd better go to bed, 
Cynthia." 

Jeanne tactfully disappeared, and the lovers 
242 



A NORMAL CASE 



said good-night. After Alec's departure, Jeanne 
received the anticipated confidence. 

That departure almost synchronized with two 
events at Tower Cottage. The first was Beau- 
maroy's exit from the front door, leaving Mary 
in charge of his prisoner who, consequently, was 
unable to keep any watch on the road or to warn 
his principals of approaching danger. The sec- 
ond was big Neddy's declaration that, in his 
opinion, the sack now held about as much as 
he could carry. He raised it from the floor in 
his two hands. "Must weight a 'undred pound 
or more!" he reckoned. That meant a lot of 
money, a fat lot of money. His terrors had be- 
gun to wear off, since nothing of a supernatural 
or even creepy order had actually happened. 
He had, at last, even agreed to the candles being 
put out. Still he would be glad to be off. 
"Enough's as good as a feast, as the sayin' goes, 
Mike," he chuckled. 

Mike had fitted a new battery into his torch. 
It shone brightly on Neddy and on the sack, 
whose mouth Neddy was now tying up. "I 

243 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

might fill my pockets too," he suggested, eyeing 
the very respectable amount of sovereigns which 
still remained in Captain Duggle's tomb. 

"Don't do it, old lad," Neddy advised. "If 
we 'ave to get out, or anything of that kind, you 
don't want to jingle as if you was a glass 
chandelier, do you?" 

Mike admitted the cogency of the objection, 
and they agreed to be off. Mike started for the 
window. "I'll just pick up the Sergeant," he 
said, "and signal you 'All clear.' Then you fol- 
low out." 

"No, Mike," said Neddy slowly, but very de- 
cisively. "If you don't mind, it's going to be 
me as gets out of that window first. I ain't a 
man of your eddication, and well, blast me if 
I'm going to be left in this place alone with 
that there!" He motioned with his head, back 
over his shoulder, towards where silent Mr. 
Saffron sat. 

"You're a blooming ass, Neddy, but have it 
your own way. Only let me see the coast's clear 
first." 

244 



A NORMAL CASE 



He stole to the window and looked around. 
He assumed that the Sergeant was at his post, 
but all the same he wanted to have a look at the 
road himself. So he had, and the result was 
satisfactory. It was hardly to be expected that 
he should scrutinize the ground immediately 
under the window; at any rate he did not think 
of that. It was, as Beaumaroy had conjectured, 
from another direction, from the parlor, that he 
anticipated a possible attack. There all was 
quiet. He came back and reported to Neddy 
that the moment was favorable. "I'll switch off 
the torch, though, just in case. You can feel 
your way; keep to the edge of the steps; don't 
knock up against " 

"I'll take damned good care not to 1" muttered 
Neddy, with a little shiver. 

He made his way to the window, through the 
darkness, having slung his sack over his shoul- 
der and holding it with his right hand, while with 
the left he guided himself up the dais and along 
its outside edge, giving as wide a berth as pos- 
sible to the great chair and its encircling canopy. 

245 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

With a sigh of relief he found the window, 
moved the sack from his shoulder, and set it on 
the ledge for a moment. But it was awkward 
to get down from the window, holding that 
heavy sack. He lowered it towards the ground, 
so that it might land gently, and, just as he 
let it go, he turned his head back and whispered 
to Mike, "All serene. Get a move on !" 

"Half a minute!" answered Mike, as he in 
his turn set out to grope his way to the window. 

But he was not so cautious as his friend had 
been. In his progress he kicked the tall foot- 
stool sharply with one of his feet. Neddy leant 
back from the window, asking quickly, and 
again very nervously, "What the devil's that?" 

Beaumaroy could not resist the opportunity 
thus offered to him. -He was crouching on the 
ground, not exactly under the window, but just 
to the right of it. Neddy's face was turned 
away; he threw himself on to the bag, rose to 
his feet, raised it cautiously, and holding it in 
front of him with both his hands its weight was 
fully as much as he could manage was round 

246 



A NORMAL CASE 



the curve of the Tower and out of sight with it 
in an instant. 

At the back of the house there was a space 
of ground where Mrs. Wiles grew a few vege- 
tables for the household's use. It was a clearing 
made from the heath, but it was not enclosed. 
Beaumaroy was able to reach the back entrance, 
by which this patch of ground could be entered 
from the kitchen. Just by the kitchen door 
stood that useful thing, a butt for rainwater. It 
stood some three, or three-and-a-half, feet high; 
and it was full to the brim almost. With a 
fresh effort Beaumaroy raised the sack to the 
level of his breast. Then he lowered it into the 
water, not dropping it, for fear of a splash, but 
immersing both his arms above the elbow. Only 
when he felt the weight off them, as the sack 
touched bottom, did he release his hold. Then 
with cautious steps he continued his progress 
round the house and, coming to the other side, 
crouched close by the wall again and waited. 
Where he was now, he could see the fence that 
separated the front garden from the road, and 

247 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

he was not more than ten or twelve feet from 
the front door on his left. As he huddled down 
there, he could not repress a smile of amuse- 
ment, even of self-congratulation. However, he 
turned to the practical job of squeezing the 
water out of his sleeves. 

In thus congratulating himself, he was pre- 
mature. His action had been based on a mis- 
calculation. He had heard only Neddy's last 
exclamation, not the cautious whispers previously 
exchanged between him and Mike; he thought 
that the man astride the window-sill himself had 
kicked something and instinctively exclaimed, 
"What the devil's that?" He thought that the 
sack was lowered from the window in order to 
be committed to the temporary guardianship of 
the Sergeant, who was doubtless looking out for 
it and, if he had his ears open, would hear its 
gentle thud. Perhaps the man in the Tower was 
collecting a second instalment of booty; heavy 
as the sack was, it did not contain all that he 
knew to be in Captain Duggle's grave. Be that 
as it might, the man would climb out of the 

248 



A NORMAL CASE 



window soon; and he would fail to find his sack. 

What would he do then? He would signal 
or call to the Sergeant; or, if they had a pre- 
concerted rendezvous, he would betake himselt 
there, expecting to find his accomplice. He 
would neither get an answer from him nor find 
him, of course. Equally, of course, he would 
look for him. But the last place where he would 
expect to find him the last place he would 
search would be where the Sergeant in fact 
was, the house itself. If, in his search for 
Hooper, he found Beaumaroy, it would be man 
to man, and, now again, Beaumaroy had no ob- 
jection. 

But, in fact, there were two men in the Tower 
one of them big Neddy; and the function, 
which Beaumaroy supposed to have been in- 
trusted to the Sergeant, had never been assigned 
to him at all; to guard the door and the road 
had been his only tasks. When they found the 
bag gone, and the Sergeant too, they might well 
think that the Sergeant had betrayed them; that 
he had gone off on his own account, or that he 

249 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

had, at the last moment, under an impulse of 
fear or a calculation of interest, changed sides 
and joined the garrison in the house. If he had 
gone off with the sack, he could not have gone 
fast or far with it. Failing to overtake him, 
they might turn back to the cottage; for they 
knew themselves to be in superior force. Beau- 
maroy was in greater danger than he knew and 
so was Doctor Mary in the house. 

Big Neddy let himself down from the window, 
and put down his hand to lift up the sack; he 
groped about for it for some seconds, during 
which time Mike also climbed over the window- 
sill and dropped on to the ground below. Neddy 
emitted a low but strenuous oath. 

"The sack's gone, Mike!" he added in a 
whisper. 

"Gone? Rot! Can't be I What do you mean, 
Neddy?" 

"I dropped it straight 'ere. It's gone," Neddy 
persisted. "The Sergeant must 'ave took it." 

"No business of his! Where is the fool?" 
Mike's voice was already uneasy; thieves them- 

250 



A NORMAL CASE 



selves seldom believe in there being honor among 
them. "You stay here. I'll go to the door and 
see if he's there." 

He was just about to put this purpose into 
execution in which event it was quite likely 
that Beaumaroy, hearing his approach or his call 
to the Sergeant, would have sprung out upon 
him, only to find himself assailed the next instant 
by another and far more formidable antagonist 
in the person of big Neddy, and thus in sore 
peril of his life when the hum of Captain Alec's 
engine became audible in the distance. The next 
moment, the lights of his car became visible to 
all the men in the little front garden of the 
cottage. 

"Hist! Wait till that's gone by!" whispered 
Neddy. 

"Yes, and get round to the back. Get out of 
sight round here." He drew Neddy round the 
curve of the Tower wall till his big frame was 
hidden by it; then he himself crouched down 
under the wall, with his head cautiously pro- 
truded. The night had grown clearer; it was 

251 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

possible to see figures at a distance of some yards 
now. 

Beaumaroy also perceived the car. Whose it 
was and the explanation of its appearance even 
occurred to his mind. But he kept still. He did 
not want visitors; he conceived his hand to be 
a better one than it really was, and preferred to 
play it by himself. If the car passed by, well 
and good. Only if it stopped at the gate would 
he have to take action. 

It did stop at the gate. Mike saw it stop. 
Then its engine was shut off, and a man got out 
of it, and came up to the garden gate. Though 
the watching Mike had never seen him before, 
he had little difficulty in guessing who he was, 
and he remembered something that the Sergeant 
had said about him. Of a certainty it was the 
redoubtable Captain Naylor. Through the 
darkness he loomed enormous, as tall as big 
Neddy himself and no whit less broad. A pow- 
erful reinforcement for the garrison 1 

And what would the Sergeant do, if he were 
252 



A NORMAL CASE 



still at his post by the door with or without that 
missing, that all-important, sack? 

Another tall figure came into Mike's view 
from where he could not distinctly see ; it hardly 
seemed to be from the door of the cottage, for 
no light showed, and there was no sound of an 
opening door. But it appeared from somewhere 
near there; it was on the path, and it moved 
along to the gate in a leisurely unhurried ap- 
proach. A man with his hands in his pockets 
that was what it looked like. This must be the 
garrison; this must be the Sergeant's friend, 
master, protector, and bete noire f his "Boomery." 

But the Sergeant himself? Where was he? 
He could hardly be at his post; or Beaumaroy 
and he must have seen one another, must have 
taken some heed of one another; something must 
have passed between them, either friendly or 
hostile. Mike turned round and whispered 
hastily, close into Neddy's ear. Neddy crawled 
a little forward, and put his own bullet head far 
enough round the curve of the wall to see the 

253 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

meeting between the garrison and its unexpected 
reinforcement. 

Beaumaroy, hands in pockets, lounged non- 
chalantly down to the gate. He opened it; the 
Captain entered. The two shook hands and 
stood there, apparently in conversation. The 
words did not reach the ears of the listeners, but 
the sound of voices did voices hushed in tone. 
Once Beaumaroy pointed to the house; both 
Mike and Neddy marked the outstretched hand. 
Was Beaumaroy telling his companion about 
something that had been happening at the house? 
Were they concocting a plan of defense or of 
attack? With the disappearance, perhaps the 
treachery, of the Sergeant, and the appearance 
of this new ally for the garrison, the prospects 
of a fight took on a very different look. Neddy 
might tackle the big stranger with an equal 
chance. How would Mike fare in an encounter 
with Beaumaroy? He did not relish the idea 
of it. 

And, while they fought, the traitor Sergeant 
might be on their backs! Or on the other 

254 



A NORMAL CASE 



hypothesis he might he getting off with the 
swag! Neither alternative was satisfactory. 

"PYaps he's gone off to the car with the sack 
in a fright, like, thinking we'll guess that!" 
whispered Neddy. 

Mike did not much think so, though he would 
much have liked to. But he received the suggestion 
kindly. "We might as well have a look; we can 
come back afterwards if if we like. Perhaps 
that big brute'll have gone." 

"The thing as I want to do most is to wring 
that Sergeant's neck I" 

Their whispers were checked by a new devel- 
opment. The cottage door opened for a moment 
and then closed again; they could tell that, both 
by the sound and by the momentary ray of light. 
Yet a light persisted after the door was shut. 
It came from a candle, which burnt steadily in 
the stillness of the night. It was carried by a 
woman, who came down the path towards where 
Beaumaroy and the Captain stood in conversa- 
tion. Both turned towards her with eager atten- 
tion. 

255 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

"Now's our time, then! They aren't looking 
our way now. We can get across the heath to 
where the car is." 

They moved off very softly, keeping the 
Tower between them and the group on the path. 
They gained the back of the house, and so the 
open heath, and made off to their destination. 
They moved so softly that they escaped unheard 
unless Beaumaroy were right in the notion that 
his ear caught a little rustle of the bracken. He 
took no heed of it, unless a passing smile might 
be reckoned as such. 

Doctor Mary joined him and the Captain on 
the path. Beaumaroy's smile gave way to a look 
of expectant interest. He wondered what she 
was going to say to Captain Alec. There was so 
much that she might say, or just conceivably 
leave unsaid. 

She spoke calmly and quietly. "It's you, Cap- 
tain Alec I I thought sol Cynthia got anxious? 
I'm all right. I suppose Mr. Beaumaroy has 
told you? Poor Mr. Saffron is dead." 

"I've told him," said Beaumaroy. 
256 



A NORMAL CASE 



"Of heart disease," Mary added. "Quite pain- 
lessly, I think and quite a normal case, though, 
of course, it's distressing." 

"I I'm sorry," stammered Captain Alec. 

Beatunaroy's eyes met Mary's in the candle's 
light with a swift glance of surprise and inquiry. 



CHAPTER XVI 

DEAD MAJESTY 

MABY did not appear to answer Beaumaroy's 
glance; she continued to look at, and to address 
herself to, Captain Alec. "I am tired, and I 
should love a ride home. But I've still a little 
to do, and I know it's awfully late, but would 
you mind waiting just a little while? I'm afraid 
I might be as much as half-an-hour." 

"Right you are, Doctor Mary as long as you 
like. I'll walk up and down, and smoke a 
cigar; I want one badly." Mary made an ex- 
tremely faint motion of her hand towards the 
house. "Oh, thanks, but really I well, I shall 
feel more comfortable here, I think." 

Mary smiled; it was always safe to rely on 
Captain Alec's fine feelings; under the circum- 
stances he would she had felt pretty sure 
prefer to smoke his cigar outside the house. "I'll 
be as quick as I can. Come, Mr. Beaumaroy!" 

258 



DEAD MAJESTY 



Beaumaroy followed her up the path and into 
the house. The Sergeant was still on the floor 
of the passage; he rolled apprehensive resentful 
eyes at them; Mary took no heed of him, but pre- 
ceded Beaumaroy into the parlor and shut the 
door. 

"I don't know what your game is," remarked 
Beaumaroy in a low voice, "but you couldn't 
have played mine better. I don't want him in- 
side the house; but I'm mighty glad to have him 
extremely visible outside it." 

"It was very quiet inside there" she pointed 
to the door of the Tower "just before I came 
out. Before that, I'd heard odd sounds. Was 
there somebody there and the Sergeant in 
league with him?" 

"Exactly," smiled Beaumaroy. "It is all 
quiet. I think I'll have a look." 

The candle on the table had burnt out. He 
took another from the sideboard and lit it from 
the one which Mary still held. 

"Like the poker?" she asked, with a flicker 
of a smile on her face. 

259 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

"No you come and help, if I cry outl" He 
could not repress a chuckle; Doctor Mary was 
interesting him extremely. 

Lighted by his candle, he went into the Tower. 
She heard him moving about there, as she stood 
thoughtfully by the extinct fire, still with her 
candle in her hand. 

Beaumaroy returned. "He's gone or they've 
gone." He exhibited to her gaze two objects 
a checked pocket-handkerchief and a tobacco 
pouch. "Number one found on the edge of the 
grave Number two on the floor of the dais, just 
behind the canopy. If the same man had drawn 
them both out of the same pocket at the same 
time wanting tc blow the same nose, Doctor 
Mary they'd have fallen at the same place, 
wouldn't they?" 

"Wonderful, Holmes!" said Mary. "And 
now, shall we attend to Mr. Saffron?" 

They carried out that office, the course of 
which they had originally prepared. Beaumaroy 
passed with his burden hard by the Sergeant, 
and Mary followed. In a quarter of an hour 

260 



DEAD MAJESTY 



they came downstairs again, and Mary again led 
the way into the parlor. She went to the window, 
and drew the curtains aside a little way. The 
lights of the car were burning; the Captain's tall 
figure fell within their rays and was plainly 
visible, strolling up and down; the ambit of the 
rays did not, however, embrace the Tower win- 
dow. The Captain paced and smoked, patient, 
content, gone back to his own happy memories 
and anticipations. Mary returned to the table 
and set her candle down on it. 

"All right. I think we can keep him a little 
longer." 

"I vote we do," said Beaumaroy. "I reckon 
he's scared the fellows away, and they won't 
come back so long as they see his lights." 

Rash at conclusions sometimes as has been 
seen Beaumaroy was right in his opinion of 
the Captain's value as a sentry, or a scarecrow 
to keep away hungry birds. The confederates 
had stolen back to their base of operations to 
where their car lay behind the trees. There, too, 
no Sergeant and no sack! Neddy reached for 

261 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

his roomy flask, drank of it, and with hoarse 
curses consigned the entire course of events, his 
accomplices, even himself, to nethermost perdi- 
tion. "That place ain't natural!" he ended in 
a gloomy conviction. " 'Oo pinched that sack? 
The Sergeant? Well maybe it was, and maybe 
it wasn't." He finished the flask to cure a re- 
currence of the shudders. 

Mike prevailed with him so far that he con- 
sented reluctantly to be left alone on the 
blasted heath, while his friend went back to re- 
connoiter. Mike went, and presently returned; 
the car was still there, the tall figure was still 
pacing up and down. 

"And perhaps the other one's gone for the 
police!" Mike suggested uneasily. "Guess we've 
lost the hand, Neddy! Best be moving, eh? It's 
no go for to-night." 

"Catch me trying the bloomin' place any other 
night!" grumbled Neddy. "It's given me the 
'errors, and no mistake." 

Mike Mr. Percy Bennett, that erstwhile 
gentlemanly stranger recognized one of his 

262 



DEAD MAJESTY 



failures. Such things are incidental to all pro- 
fessions. "Our best game is to go back; if the 
Sergeant's on the square, we'll hear from him." 
But he spoke without much hope; rationalist as 
he professed himself, still he was affected by the 
atmosphere of the Tower. With what difficulty 
do we entirely throw off atavistic notions I They 
both of them had, at the bottom ol their minds, 
the idea that the dead man on the high seat had 
defeated them, and that no luck lay in meddling 
with his treasure. 

"I 'ave my doubts whether that ugly Ser- 
geant's 'uman himself," growled Neddy, as he 
hoisted his bulk into the car. 

So they went back to whence they came; and 
the impression that the night's adventure left 
upon them was heightened as the days went by. 
For, strange to say, though they watched all the 
usual channels of information, as Ministers say 
in Parliament, and also tried to open up some 
unusual ones, they never heard anything again 
of the Sergeant, of the sack of gold, of the yawn- 
ing tomb with its golden lining, of its silent 

263 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

waxen-faced enthroned guardian who had de- 
feated them. It all the whole bizarre scene 
vanished from their ken, as though it had been 
one of those alluring, thwarting dreams which 
afflict men in sleep. It was an experience to 
which they were shy of alluding among their 
confidential friends, even of talking about be- 
tween themselves. In a word uncomfortable! 

Meanwhile the Sergeant's association with 
Tower Cottage had also drawn to its close. 
After his search and his discovery in the Tower, 
Beaumaroy came out into the passage where the 
prisoner lay, and proceeded to unfasten his 
bonds. 

"Stand up and listen to me, Sergeant," he 
said. "Your pals have run away; they can't help 
you, and they wouldn't if they could, because, 
owing to you, they haven't got away with any 
plunder, and so they'll be in a very bad temper 
with you. In the road, in front of the house, 
is Captain Naylor you know that officer and 
his dimensions ? He's in a very temper with you 
too. (Here Beaumaroy was embroidering the 



DEAD MAJESTY 



situation; the Sergeant was not really in Cap- 
tain Alec's thoughts.) Finally, I'm in a very 
bad temper with you myself. If I see your ugly 
phiz much longer, I may break out. Don't you 
think you'd better depart by the back door 
and go home? And if you're not out of Inkston 
for good and all by ten o'clock in the morning, 
and if you ever show yourself there again, look 
out for squalls. What you've got out of this 
business I don't know. You can keep it and 
I'll give you a parting present myself as well." 

"I knows a thing or two " the Sergeant 

began, but he saw a look that he had seen only 
once or twice before on Beaumaroy's face; on 
each occasion it had been followed by the death 
of the enemy whose act had elicited it. 

"Oh, try that game, just try it!" Beaumaroy 
muttered. "Just give me that excuse!" He ad- 
vanced to the Sergeant, who fell suddenly on 
his knees. "Don't make a noise, you hound, or 
I'll silence you for good and all I'd do it for 
twopence!" He took hold of the Sergeant's 
coat-collar, jerked him on to his legs, and pro- 

265 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

pelled him to the kitchen and through it to the 
back door. Opening it, he dispatched the Ser- 
geant through the doorway with an accurate and 
vigorous kick. He fell, and lay sprawling on 
the ground for a second, then gathered himself 
up and ran hastily over the heath, soon disap- 
pearing in the darkness. The memory of Beau- 
maroy's look was even keener than the sensation 
caused by Beaumaroy's boot. It sent him in 
flight back to Inkston, thence to London, thence 
into the unknown, to some spot chosen for its 
remoteness from Beaumaroy, from Captain Nay- 
lor, from Mike and from Neddy. He recognized 
his unpopularity, thereby achieving a triumph in 
a difficult little branch of wisdom. 

Beaumaroy returned to the parlor hastily ; not 
so much to avoid keeping Captain Alec waiting 
'. it was quite a useful precaution to have that 
sentry on duty a little longer as because his 
curiosity and interest had been excited by the 
description which Doctor Mary had given of 
Mr. Saffron's death. It was true, probably the 
precise truth, but it seemed to have been volun- 



DEAD MAJESTY 



teered in a rather remarkable way and worded 
with careful purpose. Also it was the bare 
truth, the truth denuded of all its attendant cir- 
cumstances which had not been normal. 

When he rejoined her, Mary was sitting in the 
armchair by the fire; she heard his account of 
the state of affairs up-to-date with a thought- 
ful smile, smoking a cigarette; her smile broad- 
ened over the tale of the water-butt. She had 
put on the fur cloak in which she had walked to 
the cottage the fire was out and the room cold; 
framed in the furs, the outline of her face looked 
softer. 

"So we stand more or less as we did before the 
burglars appeared on the scene," she commented. 

"Except that our personal exertions have 
saved that money." 

"I suppose you would prefer that all the cir- 
cumstances shouldn't come out? There have 
been irregularities." 

"I should prefer tfiat, not so much on my own 
account I don't know and don't care what they 
could do to me as for the old man's sake." 

267 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

"If I know you, I think you would rather 
enjoy being able to keep your secret. You like 
having the laugh of people. I know that myself, 
Mr. Beaumaroy." She exchanged a smile with 
him. "You want a death certificate from me/' 
she added. 

"I suppose I do," Beaumaroy agreed. 

"In the sort of terms in which I described 
Mr. Saffron's death to Captain Alec? If I gave 
such a certificate, there would remain nothing 
well, nothing peculiar except the the appear- 
ance of things in the Tower." 

Her eyes were now fixed on his face; he 
nodded his head with a smile of understanding. 
There was something new in the tone of Doctor 
Mary's voice; not only friendliness, though that 
was there, but a note of excitement, of enjoy- 
ment, as though she also were not superior to 
the pleasure of having the laugh of people. 
"But it's rather straining a point to say that 
and nothing more. I could do it only if you made 
me feel that I could trust you absolutely." 

268 



DEAD MAJESTY 



Beaumaroy made a little grimace, and waited 
for her to develop her subject. 

"Your morality is different from most 
people's, and from mine. Mine is conventional." 

"Conventual!" Beaumaroy murmured. 

"Yours isn't. It's all personal with you. You 
recognize no rights in people whom you don't 
like, or who you think aren't deserving, or 
haven't earned rights. And you don't judge 
your own rights hy what the law gives you, 
either. The right of conquest you called it; you 
hold yourself free to exercise that against every- 
body, except your friends, and against everybody 
in the interest of your friends like poor Mr. 
Saffron. I believe you'd do the same for me 
if I asked you to." 

"I'm glad you believe that, Doctor Mary." 

"But I can't deal with you on that basis. It's 
even difficult to be friends on that basis and 
certainly impossible to be partners." 

"I never suggested that we should be partners 
over the money," Beaumaroy put in quickly. 

"No. But I'm suggesting now as you did 
269 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

before that we should be partners in a secret, 
in Mr. Saffron's secret." She smiled again as 
she added, "You can manage it all, I know, 
if you like. I've unlimited confidence in your 
ingenuity quite unlimited." 

"But none at all in my honesty?" 

"You've got an honesty; but I don't call it a 
really honest honesty." 

"All this leads up to the Radbolts!" declared 
Beaumaroy with a gesture of disgust. 

"It does. I want your word of honor given 
to a friend that all that money all of it 
goes to the Radbolts, if it legally belongs to 
them. I want that in exchange for the certi- 
ficate." 

"A hard bargain I It isn't so much that I want 
the money though I must remark that in my 
judgment I have a strong claim to it; I would 
say a moral claim but for my deference to your 
views, Doctor Mary. But it isn't mainly that. 
I hate the Radbolts getting it, just as much as 
the old man would have hated it." 

"I have given you my my terms," said Mary. 
270 



DEAD MAJESTY 



Beaumaroy stood looking down at her, his 
hands in his pockets. His face was twisted in 
a humorous disgust. Mary laughed gently. "It 
is possible to to keep the rules without being 
a prig, you know, though I believe you think it 
isn't." 

"Including the sack in the water-butt? My 
sack, the sack I rescued?" 

"Including the sack in the water-butt. Yes, 
every single sovereign!" Though Mary was pur- 
suing the high moral line, there was now more 
mischief than gravity in her demeanor. 

"Well, I'll do it!" He evidently spoke with 
a great effort. "I'll do it! But, look here, 
Doctor Mary, you'll live to be sorry you made 
me do it. Oh, I don't mean that that conscience 
of yours will be sorry. That'll approve, no 
doubt, being the extremely conventionalized 
thing it is. But you yourself, you'll be sorry, or 
I'm much mistaken in the Radbolts." 

"It isn't a question of the Radbolts," she in- 
sisted, laughing. 

271 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

.3 

"Oh yes, it is, and you'll come to feel it so." 
Beaumaroy was equally obstinate. 

Mary rose. "Then that's settled, and we 
needn't keep Captain Alec waiting any longer." 

"How do you know that I sha'n't cheat you?" 
he asked. 

"I don't know how I know that," Mary ad- 
mitted. "But I do know it. And I want to 
tell you " 

She suddenly felt embarrassed under his gaze ; 
her cheeks flushed, but she went on resolutely: 

"To tell you how glad, how happy, I am that 
it all ends like this; that the poor old man is 
free of his fancies and his fears, beyond both 
our pity and our laughter." 

"Aye, he's earned rest, if there is to be rest 
for any of us!" 

"And you can rest, too. And you can laugh 
with us, and not at us. Isn't that, after all, a 
more human sort of laughter?" 

She was smiling still as she gave him her hand, 
but he saw that tears stood in her eyes. The 
next instant she gave a little sob. 

272 



DEAD MAJESTY 



"Doctor Mary!" he exclaimed in rueful ex- 
postulation. 

"No, no, how stupid you are!" She laughed 
through her sob. "It's not unhappiness !" She 
pressed his hand tightly for an instant and then 
walked quickly out of the house, calling back to 
him, "Don't come, please don't come. I'd rather 
go to Captain Alec by myself." 

Left alone in the cottage, now so quiet and 
so peaceful, Beaumaroy mused a while as he 
smoked his pipe. Then he turned to his labors 
his final night of work in the Tower. There 
was much to do, very much to do; he achieved 
his task towards morning. When day dawned, 
there was nothing but water in the water-butt, 
and in the Tower no furnishings were visible 
save three chairs a high carved one by the fire- 
place, and two much smaller on the little plat- 
form under the window. The faded old red 
carpet on the floor was the only attempt at 
decoration. And in still one thing more the 
Tower was different from what it had been. 
Beaumaroy contented himself with pasting 

273 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

brown paper over the pane on which Mike had 
operated. He did not replace the matchboard- 
ing over the window, but stowed it away in the 
coal-shed. The place was horribly in need of 
sunshine and fresh air and the old gentleman 
was no longer alive to fear the draught ! 

When the undertaker came up to the cottage 
that afternoon, he glanced from the parlor, 
through the open door, into the Tower. 

"Driving past on business, sir," he remarked 
to Beaumaroy, "I've often wondered what the 
old gentleman did with that there Tower. But 
it looks as if he didn't make no use of it." 

"We sometimes stored things in it," said Beau- 
maroy. "But, as you see, there's nothing much 
there now." 

But then the undertaker, worthy man, could 
not see through the carpet, or through the lid 
of Captain Duggle's grave. That was full 
fuller than it had been at any period of its his- 
tory. In it lay the wealth, the scepter, and the 
trappings of dead Majesty. For wherein did 
Mr. Saffron's dead Majesty differ from the dead 
Majesty of other Kings? 

274 



CHAPTER XVII 

THE CHIEF MOURNERS 

THE attendance was small at Mr. Saffron's 
funeral. Besides meek and depressed Mrs. 
Wiles, and Beaumaroy himself, Doctor Mary 
found herself, rather to her surprise, in company 
with old Mr. Naylor. On comparing notes she 
discovered that, like herself, he had come on 
Beaumaroy's urgent invitation and, moreover, 
that he was engaged also to come on afterwards 
to Tower Cottage, where Beaumaroy was to 
entertain the chief mourners at a mid-day repast. 
"Glad enough to show my respect to a neigh- 
bor," said old Naylor. "And I always liked 
the old man's looks. But really I don't see 
why I should go to lunch. However, Beau- 
maroy " 

Mary did not see why he should go to lunch 
nor, for that matter, why she should either, 

275 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

but curiosity about the chief mourners made her 
glad that she was going. The chief mourners 
did not look, at first sight, attractive. Mr. Rad- 
bolt was a short plump man, with a weaselly face 
and cunning eyes; his wife's eyes, of a greeny 
color, stared stolidly out from her broad red 
face ; she was taller than her mate, and her figure 
contrived to be at once stout and angular. All 
through the service, Beaumaroy's gaze was set 
on the pair as they sat or stood in front of him, 
wandering from the one to the other in an ap- 
parently fascinated study. 

At the Cottage he entertained his party in the 
parlor with a generous hospitality, and treated 
the Radbolts with most courteous deference. 
The man responded with the best manners that 
he had who can do more? The woman was 
much less cordial; she was curt, and treated 
Beaumaroy rather as the servant than the friend 
of her dead cousin; there was a clear suggestion 
of suspicion in her bearing towards him. After 
a broad stare of astonishment on her introduc- 
tion to "Dr. Arkroyd," she took very little notice 

276 



THE CHIEF MOURNERS 



of Mary; only to Mr. Nay lor was she clumsily 
civil and even rather cringing; it was clear that 
in him she acknowledged the gentleman. He 
sat by her, and she tried to insinuate herself into 
a private conversation with him, apart from the 
others, probing him as to his knowledge of the 
dead man and his mode of living. Her questions 
hovered persistently round the point of Mr. 
Saffron's expenditure. 

"Mr. Saffron was not a friend of mine," Nay- 
lor found it necessary to explain. "I had few 
opportunities of observing his way of life, even 
if I had felt any wish to do so." 

"I suppose Beaumaroy knew all about his 
affairs," she suggested. 

"As to that, I think you must ask Mr. Beau- 
maroy himself." 

"From what the lawyers say, the old man 
seems to have been getting rid of his money, 
somehow or to somebody," she grumbled, in a 
positive whisper. 

To Mr. Naylor's intense relief, Beaumaroy 
interrupted this conversation. "Well, how do 

277 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

you like this little place, Mrs. Radbolt?" he asked 
cheerfully. "Not a bad little crib, is it? Don't 
you think so too, Dr. Arkroyd?" Throughout 
this gathering Beaumaroy was very punctilious 
with his "Dr. Arkroyd." One would have 
thought that Mary and he were almost strangers. 

"Yes, I like it," said Mary. "The Tower 
makes it rather unusual and picturesque." This 
was not really her sincere opinion; she was play- 
ing up to Beaumaroy, convinced that he had 
opened some conversational maneuver. 

"Don't like it at all," answered Mrs. Radbolt. 
"We'll get rid of it as soon as we can, won't we, 
Radbolt?" She always addressed her husband 
as "Radbolt." 

"Don't be in a hurry, don't throw it away," 
Beaumaroy advised. "It's not everybody's 
choice, of course, but there are quarters yes, 
more than one quarter in which you might get 
a very good offer for this place." His eye 
caught Mary's for a moment. "Indeed I wish 
I was in a position to make you one myself. I 
should like to take it as it stands lock, stock and 

278 



THE CHIEF MOURNERS 



barrel. But I've sunk all I had in another 
venture hope it turns out a satisfactory one I 
So I'm not in a position to do it. If Mrs. Rad- 
bolt wants to sell, what would you think of it, 
Dr. Arkroyd, as a speculation?" 

Mary shook her head, smiling, glad to be able 
to smile with plausible reason. "I'm not as fond 
of rash speculations as you are, Mr. Beaumaroy." 

"It may be worth more than it looks," he pur- 
sued. "Good neighborhood, healthy air, fruitful 
soil, very rich soil hereabouts." 

"My dear Beaumaroy, the land about here is 
abominable," Naylor expostulated. 

"Perhaps generally, but some rich pockets 
one may call pockets," corrected Beaumaroy. 

"I'm not an agriculturist," remarked weaselly 
Mr. Radbolt, in his oily tones. 

"And then there's a picturesque old yarn told 
about it oh, whether it's true or not, of course 
I don't know. It's about a certain Captain 
Duggle not the Army the Mercantile Marine, 
Mrs. Radbolt. You know the story Dr. Ark- 
royd? And you too, Mr. Naylor? .You're the 

279 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

oldest inhabitant of Inkston present, sir. Sup- 
pose you tell it to Mr. and Mrs. Radbolt? I'm 
sure it will make them attach a new value to 
this really very attractive cottage with, as Dr. 
Arkroyd says, the additional feature of the 
Tower." 

"I know the story only as a friend of mine 
Mr. Penrose who takes great interest in local 
records and traditions, told it to me. If our host 
desires, I shall be happy to tell it to Mrs. Rad- 
bolt." Mr. Naylor accompanied his words with 
a courtly little bow to that lady, and launched 
upon the legend of Captain Duggle. 

Mr. Radbolt was a religious man. At the end 
of the story he observed gravely, "The belief in 
diabolical personalities is not to be lightly dis- 
missed, Mr. Beaumaroy." 

"I'm entirely of your opinion, Mr. Radbolt." 
This time Mary felt that her smile was not so 
plausible. 

"There seems to have been nothing in the 
grave," mused Mrs. Radbolt. 

"Apparently not when Captain Duggle left it 
280 



THE CHIEF MOURNERS 



if he was ever in it at all events not when he 
left the house, in whatever way and by whatever 
agency." 

"As to the latter point, I myself incline to 
Penrose's theory," said Mr. Naylor. "Delirium 
tremens, you know!" 

Beaumaroy puffed at his cigar. "Still, I've 
often thought that, though it was empty then, 
it would have made supposing it really exists 
an excellent hiding-place for anybody who 
wanted such a thing. Say, for a miser, or a 
man who had his reasons for concealing what he 
was worth! I once suggested the idea to Mr. 
Saffron, and he was a good deal amused. He 
patted me on the shoulder and laughed heartily. 
He wasn't often so much amused as that." 

A new look came into Mrs. Radbolt's green 
eyes. Up to now, distrust of Beaumaroy had 
predominated. His frank bearing, his obvious 
candor and simplicity, had weakened her suspi- 
cions. But his words suggested something else; 
he might be a fool, not a knave; Mr. Saffron had 
been amused, had laughed beyond his wont. 

281 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

That might have seemed the best way of putting 
Beaumaroy off the scent. The green eyes were 
now alert, eager, immensely acquisitive. 

"The grave's in the Tower, if it's anywhere. 
Would you like to see the Tower, Mrs. Rad- 
bolt?" 

"Yes, I should," she answered tartly. "Being 
part of our property as it is." 

Mary exchanged a glance with Mr. Naylor, 
as they followed the others into the Tower. 
"What an abominable woman!" her glance said. 
Naylor smiled a despairing acquiescence. 

The strangers chief mourners, heirs-at-law, 
owners now of the place wherein they stood 
looked round the bare brick walls of the little 
rotunda. Naylor examined it with interest too 
the old story was a quaint one. Mary stood 
at the back of the group, smiling triumphantly. 
How had he disposed of everything? She had 
not been wrong in her unlimited confidence in 
his ingenuity. She did not falter in her faith in 
his word pledged to her. 

"Safe from burglars, that grave of the Cap- 
282 



THE CHIEF MOURNERS 



tain's, if you kept it properly concealed !" Beau- 
maroy pursued in a sort of humorous meditation. 
"And in these days some people like to have their 
money in their own hands. Confiscatory legis- 
lation possible, isn't it, Mr. Nay lor? You know 
about those things better than I do. And then 
the taxes shocking, Mr. Radbolt! By Jove, I 
knew a chap the other day who came in for what 
sounded like a pretty little inheritance. But by 
the time he'd paid all the duties and so on, most 
of the gilt was off the gingerbread! It's there 
in front of the hearth that the story says the 
grave is. Doesn't it, Mr. Naylor?" A sudden 
thought seemed to strike him "I say, Mrs. Rad- 
bolt, would you like us to have a look whether 
we can find any indications of it?" His eyes 
traveled beyond the lady whom he addressed. 
They met Mary's. She knew their message; he 
was taking her into his confidence about his ex- 
periment with the chief mourners. 

The stout angular woman had leapt to her 
conclusion. Much less money than had been ex- 
pected no signs of money having been spent 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

and here, not the cunning knave whom she had 
expected, but a garrulous open fool, giving away 
what was perhaps a golden secret ! Mammon, the 
greed of acquisitiveness, the voracious appetite 
for getting more, gleamed in her green eyes. 

"There? Do you say it's it's supposed to be 
there?" she asked eagerly, with a shake in her 
voice. 

Her husband interposed in a suave and sancti- 
monious voice: "My dear, if Mr. Beaumaroy 
and the other gentleman won't mind my saying 
so, I've been feeling that these are rather light 
and frivolous topics for the day, and the occa- 
sion which brings us here. The whole thing is 
probably an unfounded story, although there is 
a sound moral to it. Later on, just as a matter 
of curiosity, if you like, my dear. But to-day, 
Cousin Aloysius's day of burial, is it quite 
seemly?" 

The big woman looked at her smaller mate for 
just a moment, a scrutinizing look. Then she 
said with most unexpected meekness, "I was 

284 



THE CHIEF MOURNERS 



wrong. You always have the proper feelings, 
Radbolt." 

"The fault was mine, entirely mine," Beau- 
maroy hastily interposed. "I dragged in the old 
yarn, I led Mr. Naylor into telling it, I told you 
about what I said to Mr. Saffron and how he took 
it. All my fault! I acknowledge the justice of 
your rebuke. I apologize, Mr. Radbolt! And 
I think that we've exhausted the interest of the 
Tower." He looked at his watch. "Er, how do 
you stand for time? Shall Mrs. Wiles make us 
a cup of tea, or have you a train to catch?" 

"That's the woman in charge of the house, 
isn't it?" asked Mrs. Radbolt. 

"Comes in for the day. She doesn't sleep 
here." He smiled pleasantly on Mrs. Radbolt. 
"To tell you the truth, I don't think that she 
would consent to sleep here by herself. Silly! 
But the old story, you know !" 

"Don't you sleep here?" the woman persisted, 
though her husband was looking at her rather 
uneasily. 

"Up to now I have," said Beaumaroy. "But 
285 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

there's nothing to keep me here now, and Mr. 
Naylor has kindly offered to put me up as long 
as I stay at Inkston." 

"Going to leave the place with nobody in it?" 

Beaumaroy's manner indicated surprise. "Oh, 
yes! There's nothing to tempt thieves, is there? 
Just lock the door and put the key in my 
pocket!" 

The woman looked very surly, but flummoxed. 
Her husband, with his suave oiliness, came to her 
rescue. "My wife is always nervous, perhaps 
foolishly nervous, about fire, Mr. Beaumaroy. 
Well, with an old house like this, there is always 
the risk." 

"Upon my soul, I hadn't thought of it! And 
I've packed up all my things, and your car's come 
and fetched them, Mr. Naylor. Still, of course 
I could " 

"Oh, we've no right, no claim, to trouble you, 
Mr. Beaumaroy. Only my wife is " 

"Fire's an obsession with me, I'm afraid," said 
the stout woman, with a rumbling giggle. The 

286 



THE CHIEF MOURNERS 



sound of her mirth was intolerably disagreeable 
to Mary. 

"I really think, my dear, that you'll feel easier 
if I stay myself, won't you? You can send me 
what I want to-morrow, and rejoin me when 
we arrange because we shall have to settle 
what's to be done with the place." 

"As you please, Mr. Radbolt." Beaumaroy's 
tone was, for the first time, a little curt. It 
hinted some slight offense as though he felt 
himself charged with carelessness, and considered 
Mrs. Radbolt's obsession mere fussiness. "No 
doubt, if you stay, Mrs. Wiles will agree to 
stay too, and do her best to make you com- 
fortable." 

"I shall feel easier that way, Radbolt," Mrs. 
Radbolt admitted, with another rumble of 
apologetic mirth. 

Beaumaroy motioned his guests Back to the 
parlor. His manner retained its shade of dis- 
tance and offense. "Then it really only remains 
for me to wish you good-bye and all happiness 
in your new property. Any information in 

287 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

possession as to Mr. Saffron's affairs I shall, of 
course, be happy to give you. Is the car coming 
for you, Mr. Naylor?" 

"I thought it would be pleasant to walk back; 
and I hope Doctor Mary will come with us and 
have some tea. I'll send you home afterwards, 
Doctor Mary." 

Farewells were exchanged, but now without 
even a show of cordiality. Naylor and Doctor 
Mary felt too much distaste for the chief mourners 
to attain more than a cold civility. Beaumaroy 
did not relax into his earlier friendliness. His 
apparent dislike to her husband's plan of stay- 
ing at the Cottage roused Mrs. Radbolt's suspi- 
cions again; was he a rogue after all, but a very 
plausible, a very deep one? Only Mr. Radbolt's 
unctuousness surely it would have smoothed 
the stormiest waves saved the social situation. 

"Intelligent people, I thought," Beaumaroy 
observed, as the three friends pursued their way 
across the heath towards Old Place. "Didn't 
you, Mr. Naylor?" 

Old Naylor grunted. With a twinkle in his 
288 



THE CHIEF MOURNERS 



eyes, Beaumaroy tried Doctor Mary. "What 
was your impression of them?" 

"Oh!" moaned Mary, with a deep and ex- 
pressive note. "But how did you know they'd 
be like that?" 

"Letters, and the old man's description , he had 
a considerable command of language, and very 
violent likes and dislikes. I made a picture of 
them and it's turned out pretty accurate." 

"And those were the nearest kith and kin your 
poor old man had?" Naylor shook his head 
sadly. "The woman obviously cared not a straw 
about anything but handling his money and 
couldn't even hide it! A gross and horrible 
female, Beaumaroy!" 

"Were you really hurt about their insisting on 
staying?" asked Mary. 

"Oh, come, you're sharper than that, Doctor 
Mary! Still, I think I did it pretty well. I set 
the old girl thinking again, didn't I?" He broke 
into laughter, and Mary joined in heartily. Old 
Naylor glanced from one to the other with an 
air of curiosity. 

289 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

"You two people look to me somehow as 
if you'd got a secret between you." 

"Perhaps we have! Mr. Naylor's a man of 
honor, Doctor Mary; a man who appreciates a 
situation, a man you can trust." Beaumaroy 
seemeu very gay and happy now, disembarrassed 
oi a load, and buoyant alike in walk and in spirit. 
"What do you say to letting Mr. Naylor just 
him nobody else into our secret?" 

Mary put her arms through old Mr. Naylor's. 
"I don't mind, if you don't. But nobody else!" 

"Then you shall tell him the entire story 
at your leisure. Meanwhile I'll begin at the 
wrong end. I told you I'd made a picture of 
the hated cousins, of the heirs-at-law, those sor- 
rowing chief mourners. Well, having made a 
picture of them that's proved true, I'll make a 
prophecy about them, and I'll bet you it proves 
just as true." 

"Go on," said Mary. "Listen, Mr. Naylor," 
she added with a squeeze of the old man's arm. 

"You're like a couple of naughty children!" he 
said, with an affectionate look and laugh. 

290 



THE CHIEF MOURNERS 



"Well, my prophecy is that they'll swear the 
poor dear old man's estate at under five thou- 
sand." 

"Well, why shouldn't " old Naylor began; 

but he stopped as he saw Mary's eyes meet 
Beaumaroy's in a rapture of quick and delighted 
understanding. 

"And then perhaps you'll own to being sorry, 
Doctor Mary!" 

"So that's what you were up to, was it?" said 
Marjr. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

THE GOLD AND THE TREASURE 

OLD Mr. Naylor called on Mary two or three 
days later at an hour when, as he well knew, 
Cynthia was at his own house in order to hear 
the story, ^here were parts of it which she 
could not describe fully for lack of knowledge 
the enterprise of Mike and Big Neddy, for 
example; but all that she knew she told frankly, 
and did not scruple to invoke her imagination 
to paint Beaumaroy's position, with its difficul- 
ties, demands, obligations and temptations. 
He heard her with close attention, evidently 
amused, and watching her animated face with a 
keen and watchful pleasure. 

"Surprising!" he said at the end, rubbing his 
hands together. "That's to say, not in itself 
particularly surprising. Just a queer little hap- 
pening; one would think nothing of it if one 
read it in the newspaper! Things are always so 

292 



THE GOLD AND THE TREASURE 

much more surprising when they happen down 
one's own street, or within a few minutes' walk 
of one's garden wall and when one actually 
knows the people involved in them. Still I was 
always inclined to agree with Dr. Irechester that 
there was something out of the common about 
old Saffron and our friend Beaumaroy." 

"Dr. Irechester never found out what it was, 
though!" exclaimed Mary triumphantly. 

"No, he didn't; for reasons pretty clearly in- 
dicated in your narrative." He sat back in his 
chair, his elbows on the arms and his hands 
clasped before him. "If I may say so, the really 
curious thing is to find you in the thick of it, 
Doctor Mary." 

"That wasn't my fault. I couldn't refuse to 
attend Mr. Saffron. Dr. Irechester himself 
said so." 

He paid no heed to her protest. "In the thick 
of it and enjoying it so tremendously!" 

Mary looked thoughtful. "I didn't at first. 
I was angry, indignant, suspicious. I thought 
I was being made a fool of." 

293 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

"So you were a fool and a tool, my dear!" 

"But that night because it all really hap- 
pened in just one night the chief mourners, as 
Mr. Beaumaroy always calls them, were more 
than " 

"Just a rather amusing epilogue yes, that's 
all." 

"That night, it did get hold of me." She 
laughed a little nervously, a little uneasily. 

"And now you tell it to me I must say that 
your telling made it twice the story that it really 
is now you tell it as if it were the greatest 
thing that ever happened to you!" 

For a moment Mary fenced. "Well, nothing 
interesting ever has happened in my humdrum 
life before." But old Naylor pursed up his lips 
in contempt of her fencing. "It did seem to 
me a great a great experience. Not the bur- 
glars and all that though some of the things, like 
the water-butt, did amuse me very much but 
our being apart from all Ihe world, there by our- 
selves, against the whole world in a way, Mr. 
Naylor." 

294 



THE GOLD AND THE TREASURE 

"The law on one side, the robbers on the other, 
and you two alone together!" 

"Yes, you understand. That was the way I 
felt it. But we weren't together, not in every 
way. I mean, we were fighting between our- 
selves too, right up to the very end." She gave 
another low laugh. "I suppose we're fighting 
still; he means to face me with some Radbolt 
villainy, and make me sorry for what he calls my 
legalism with an epithet!" 

"That's his idea, and my own too, I confess. 
Those chief mourners will find the money and 
some other things that'll make 'em stare. But 
they'll lie low; they'll sit on the cash till the time 
comes when it's safe to dispose of it ; and they'll 
bilk the Inland Revenue out of the duties. The 
remarkable thing is that Beaumaroy seems to 
want them to do it." 

"That's to make me sorry; that's to prove me 
wrong, Mr. Naylor." 

"It may make you sorry, it makes me sorry, 
for that matter; but it doesn't prove you wrong. 
You were right. My boy Alec would have taken 

295 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

the same line as you did. Now you needn't 
laugh at me, Mary. I own up at once ; that's my 
highest praise." 

"I know it is; and it implies a contrast?" 

Old Naylor unclasped his hands and spread 
them in a deprecatory gesture. "It must do 
that," he acknowledged. 

Mary gave a rebellious little toss of her head. 
"I don't care if it does, Mr. Naylor! Mr. Beau- 
maroy is my friend now." 

"And mine. Moreover I have such confidence 
in his honor and fidelity that I have offered him 
a rather important and confidential position in 
my business to represent us at one of the 
foreign ports where we have considerable inter- 
ests." He smiled. "It's the sort of place where 
he will perhaps find himself less trammelled by 
er legalism, and with more opportunities for 
his undoubted gift of initiative." 

"Will he accept your offer? Will he go?" she 
asked rather excitedly. 

"Without doubt, I think. It's really quite a 
296 



THE GOLD AND THE TREASURE 

good offer. And what prospects has he now, or 
here?" 

Mary stretched her hands towards the fire and 
gazed into it in silence. 

"I think you'll have an offer soon too, and 
a good one, Doctor Mary. Irechester was over 
at our place yesterday. He's still of opinion 
that there was something queer at Tower Cot- 
tage. Indeed he thinks that Mr. Saffron was 
queer himself, in his head, and that a clever 
doctor would have found it out." 

"That he himself would, if he'd gone on at- 
tending " 

"Precisely. But he's not surprised that you 
didn't ; you lacked the experience. Still he thinks 
none the worse of you for that, and he told me 
that he has made up his mind to offer you part- 
nership. Irechester's a bit stiff, but a very 
straight fellow. You could rely on being fairly 
treated, and it's a good practice. Besides he's 
well off, and quite likely to retire as soon as he 
sees you fairly in the saddle." 

"It's a great compliment." Here Mary's voice 
297 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

sounded quite straightforward and sincere. An 
odd little note of contempt crept into it as she 
added, "And it sounds ideal!" 

"Yes, it does," old Naylor agreed, with a 
private smile all to himself, whilst Mary still 
gazed into the fire. "Quite ideal. You're a 
lucky young woman, Mary." He rose to take 
his leave. "So, with our young folk happily 
married, and you installed, and friend Beau- 
maroy suited to his liking why, upon my word, 
we may ring the curtain down on a happy end- 
ing of Act I, at all events!" 

She seemed to pay no heed to his words. He 
stood for a moment, admiring her; not as a 
beauty, but a healthy comely young woman, 
stout-hearted, and with humanity and a sense of 
fun in her. And, as he looked, his true feeling 
about the situation suddenly burst through all 
restraint and leapt from his lips. "Though, for 
my part, under the circumstances, if I were you, 
I'd see old Irechester damned before I accepted 
the partnership!" 

She turned to him startled, yet suddenly 
298 



THE GOLD AND THE TREASURE 

smiling. He took her hand and raised it to his 
lips. 

"Hush! Not another word! Good-bye, my 
dear Mary!'* 

The next day, as Mary, her morning round 
finished, sat at lunch with Cynthia, listening, or 
not listening, to her friend's excusably, eager 
chatter about her approaching wedding, a note 
was delivered into her hands: 

The C, M.'s are in a hurry! She's back! The window 
is boarded up again ! Come and see ! About 4 o'clock this 
afternoon. B. 

Mary kept the appointment. She found 
Beaumaroy strolling up and down on the road 
in front of the cottage. The Tower window 
was boarded up again, but with new strong 
planks, in a much more solid and workmanlike 
fashion. If he were to try again, Mike would 
not find it o easy to negotiate, without making 
a dangerous noise over the job. 

"Such impatience such undisguised rapacity 
is indecent and revolting," Beaumaroy re- 

299 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

marked. He seemed to be in the highest spirits. 
"I wonder if they've opened it yet!" 

"They'll see you prowling about outside, won't 
they?" 

"I hope so. Indeed I've no doubt of it. Mrs. 
Greeneyes is probably peering through the 
parlor window at this minute, and cursing me. 
I like it! To those people I represent law and 
order. If they can rise to the conception of 
such a thing at all, I probably embody con- 
science. When you come to think of it, it's a 
pleasant turn of events that I should come to 
represent law and order and conscience to any- 
body, even to the Radbolts." 

"It is rather a change," she agreed. "But let's 
walk on. I don't really much want to think of 
them." 

"That's because you feel that you're losing the 
bet. I can't stop them getting the money in the 
end, that's your doing ! I can't stop them cheat- 
ing the Revenue, which is what thej certainly 
mean to do, without exposing myself to more 
inconvenience than I am disposed to undergo 

300 



THE GOLD AND THE TREASURE 

in the cause of the Revenue. Whereas if I had 
left the bag in the water-butt all your doing! 
Aren't you a little sorry?" 

"Of course there is an aspect of the case " 

she admitted smiling. 

"That's enough for me! You've lost the bet. 
Let's see what were the stakes, Mary?" 

"Come, let's walk on." She put her arm 
through his. "What about this berth that Mr. 
Naylor's offering you? At Bogota, isn't it?" 

He looked puzzled for a moment; then his 
mind worked quickly back to Cynthia's almost 
forgotten tragedy. He laughed in enjoyment 
of her thrust. "My place isn't Bogota though 
I fancy that it's rather in the same moral lati- 
tude. You're confusing me with Captain 
Cranster!" 

"So I was for a moment," said Doctor Mary 
demurely. "But what about the appointment, 
anyhow?" 

"What about your partnership with Dr. Ire- 
chester, if you come to that?" 

Mary pressed his arm gently, and they walked 
301 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

on in silence for a little while. They were clear 
of the neighborhood of Tower Cottage now, but 
still a considerable distance from Old Place ; very- 
much alone together on the heath, as they had 
seemed to be that night that night of nights 
at the cottage. 

"I haven't so much as received the offer yet; 
only Mr. Naylor has mentioned it to me." 

"Still, you'd like to be ready with your answer 
when the offer is made, wouldn't you?" He 
drew suddenly away from her, and stood still 
on the road, opposite to her. His face lost its 
playfulness ; as it set into gravity, the lines upon 
it deepened, and his eyes looked rather sad. 
"This is wrong of me, perhaps, but I can't help 
it. I'm not going to talk to you about myself. 
Confessions and apologies and excuses, and so 
on, aren't in my line. I should probably tell 
lies if I attempted anything of the sort. You 
must take me or leave me on your own judg- 
ment, on your own feelings about me, as you've 
seen and known me not long, but pretty in- 
timately, Mary." He suddenly reached his 

302 



THE GOLD AND THE TREASURE 

hand into his pocket and pulled out the combina- 
tion knife-and-fork. "That's all I've brought 
away of his from Tower Cottage. And I 
brought it away as much for your sake as for 
his. It was during our encounter over this in- 
strument that I first thought of you as a woman, 
Mary. And, by Jove, I believe you knew it!" 

"Yes, I believe I did," she answered, her eyes 
set very steadily on his. 

He slipped the thing back into his pocket. 
"And now I love you, and I want you, Mary." 

She fell into a sudden agitation. "Oh, but 
this doesn't seem for me ! I'd put all that behind 

me ! I " She could scarcely find words. "I, 

I'm just Doctor Mary!" 

"Lots of people to practice on bodies and 
souls too, in the moral latitude I'm going to!" 

Her body seemed to shiver a little, as though 
before a plunge into deep water. "I'm very; 
safe here," she whispered. 

"Yes, you're safe here," he acknowledged 
gravely, and stood silent, waiting for her choice. 

"What a decision to have to make!" she cried 
303 



THE SECRET OF THE TOWER 

suddenly. "It's all my life in a moment! Be- 
cause I don't want you to go away from me!" 
She drew near to him, and put her hands on 
his shoulders. "I'm not a child, like Cynthia. 
I can't dream dreams and make idols any more. 
I think I see you as you are, and I don't know 
whether your love is a good thing." She paused, 
searching his eyes with hers very earnestly. Then 
she went on, "But if it isn't, I think there's no 
good thing left for me at all." 

"Mary, isn't that your answer to me?" 
"Yes." Her arms fell from his shoulders, and 
she stood opposite to him, in silence again for 
a moment. Then her troubled face cleared to 
a calm serenity. "And now I set doubts and 
fears behind me. I come to you in faith, and 
loyalty, and love. I'm not a missionary to you, 
or a reformer, God forbid! I'm just the woman 
who loves you, Hector." 

"I should have mocked at the missionary, and 
tricked the reformer." He bared his head be- 
fore her. "But by the woman who loves me and 

304 



THE GOLD AND THE TREASURE 

whom I love, I will deal faithfully." He bent 
and kissed her forehead. 

"And now, let's walk on. No, not to old 
Place back home, past Tower Cottage." 

She put her arm through his again, and they 
set out through the soft dusk that had begun 
to hover about them. So they came to the cot- 
tage, and here, for a while, instinctively stayed 
their steps. A light shone in the parlor window; 
the Tower was dark and still. Mary turned her 
face to Beaumaroy's with a sudden smile of 
scornful gladness. 

"Aye, aye, you're right!" His smile answered 
hers. "Poor devils! I'm sorry; for them, upon 
my soul I am!" 

"That really is just like you!" she exclaimed 
in mirthful exasperation. "Sorry for the Rad- 
bolts now, are you?" 

"Well, after all, they've only got the gold. 
We've got the treasure, Mary!" 

(2) 
THE END. 



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